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Could pets keep you young?

12th July 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Pets are amazing companions that can quickly brighten up someone’s day. Whether someone is a dog person or a cat person, animals give humans so much that some studies believe they can even keep signs of ageing at bay. While over half of older adults admit to feeling lonely, cats, birds, dogs and even chickens can help stave off the feelings of isolation.

Loneliness can be as damaging as some alcohol or tobacco abuse, but chickens may be a productive pet at keeping away depression while also providing nutrition. An article in the Telegraph follows residents keeping chickens and the success that came from the pairing. The nick name ‘hensioner’ is particularly apt, but the daily chores of feeding and maintaining, help give a sense of structure and purpose. 

 

Those with mobility issues and reliant on a modern stair lift often find summoning the energy to exercise very difficult. Being a proud dog owner is much less of a chore as older people can buy or adopt a low energy breed and take them on a short walk a day or a couple of times a week. This will not only keep the new pet happy, but will help the owner stay more mobile as well.

Rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs are all being used in an attempt to discourage dementia. Stepney City Farm is taking the animals to those who need them most, visiting hospitals, residential and nursing homes with their furry pals in tow. Allowing those most at risk of isolation and depression as well as dementia to pet and bond in this most basic way, helps their mood significantly.

This is not the first trial of this kind, with the Furry Tales Project running a farm that hosts sessions for those over the age of 65, enabling the companionship of a pet without the responsibility.

Image Credit: NCVO LONDON