HEALTH AND WELLNESS
It's never too late to paws and breathe.
RESEARCHERS from University of Montana in Ohio are ordering “pet-adoption prescriptions” for older people, especially those affected with grief or isolation.
Existing schemes to help older adults include financial help with adoption fees, home delivery of pet food and programs to help look after or rehome pets if adults become unable to care for them. Trial adoptions from shelters and guidance on pet species and breed to match the individual's needs should also help overcome both perceived and real barriers to pet ownership by old people.
"Many older adults would love to spend time with a pet and would benefit greatly from the positive effects the companionship brings, yet they worry about how they can afford or care for a pet," said Sandra McCune, PhD, Scientific Leader, Human Animal Interaction at Waltham, the proponent of the pet-adult people research. "We envision a future in which fostering human-animal bonds is no longer seen as alternative care, but a standard of care."
* First aid treatment for toad poisoning in dogs