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New research from the UK showing that seniors with pets feel more satisfied with life is welcome support for the case that being older does not mean giving up the lifestyle choices - and benefits - you have enjoyed throughout your life. COTA National Seniors said today that old age doesn't equate to fewer needs or a reduced ability to care for others.

According to David Deans, COTA National Seniors Chief Executive, "Caring for pets can be motivational and provide a reason for many people to get up and out each day. Pets also satisfy the human need to nurture and touch."

In return, pets provide companionship, love, loyalty and an opportunity for social interaction. For many people who live alone, a pet provides someone to have a conversation with as well as being a good conversation starter with other pet owners.

This is backed by an abundance of research that highlights the importance of the human-animal bond and the benefits of pet ownership, both socially and for overall health.

New research published by the Society for Animal Companion Studies (SCAS) in the UK found that older people with pets felt more satisfied with life than those without companion animals. The study found older pet owners, with an average age of 75, consistently scored
higher than non-pet owners in all areas of self care, getting about the home, relating to others and life satisfaction.

UK psychologist, Dr June McNicholas, has researched the impact of housing policies on older pet owners. McNicholas says, "The choice to own pets is an important part of a chosen lifestyle, which can contribute to health and happiness if permitted, but to is content if it is denied. There is a strong consensus of opinion among older people, vets, animal shelters and health professionals that the process of growing older should not simply be seen in terms of giving up what were once important lifestyle choices. Rather the focus should be on maintaining those aspects that can be preserved intact. With help, pet ownership can be one of them."

Petcare Information and Advisory Service consultant Denise Humphries says pet ownership does come with responsibilities and financial costs but Ms Humphries also points out that pets provide great companionship. She highlights the importance of choosing the type of pet that suits the physical abilities of the owner. "Dogs will require regular exercise. We recommend researching the breeds which require less exercise as well as those that are happy to spend time indoors as they may be better suited to elderly owners. For the less active person, cats and birds can also provide companionship and immeasurable pleasure."

Australia - A Nation of Pet Lovers
It is estimated that 64% of the 7.5 million households in Australia have some type of pet. 52% of these households own either a dog or a cat.
Over many years, Australian and international research has shown that owning pets can help improve a person's mental and physical health, reduce the effects of stress; help children learn about responsibility, facilitate social interaction between people and build a sense of community.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 13/03/07 21:41 Views: 2522

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