As part of the Europe 2020 Initiatives the EU is promoting innovative partnerships on active and healthy ageing. With scientific evidence now proving that keeping animals makes you healthier IFAH-Europe is launching a new campaign promoting the benefits of pets for the elderly.
The campaign aims to highlight the various ways in which animals not only bring companionship and pleasure but many other benefits to those in a later stage of life. It will run via a Facebook page entitled We Care and will be supported with more in-depth information on how to care for pets available from the IFAH-Europe website. Continuing with the motto “Animals are good for us, be good to them. We care”, the campaign kicks off with an invitation to share short videos showing how older people enjoy life with their pet and giving a brief statement on what their pet means to them and how they care for them. Young people can encourage their parents/grandparents to participate and post the video on the IFAH-Europe Facebook page.
Presented at European Pet Night on 20 February 2013, where a wide range of stakeholders and EU decision-makers met to discuss the benefits of pets and responsible pet ownership, this was demonstrated at the event by Activ’Dog, a Belgian charity providing training for and organising pet-assisted therapy and activities. They showed that the presence of a dog at a nursing home brings joy into what can become a routine way of life and helps stimulate both physical activity and social interaction. In the UK, for example, PAT cats and dogs fulfill this role.
Research has shown that stroking dogs and cats can lower your blood pressure and heart rate helping people to live longer. Taking your dog for regular walks or playing with your cat not only keeps them healthy and active but it provides us with a daily exercise routine. Studies indicate that pet owners require fewer visits to the doctor and generally have lower blood pressure levels. The health and social benefits are clear with doctors in some cases even prescribing the adoption of a pet to combat depression, loneliness, inactivity, neurosis and stress.
IFAh-Europe’s favourite videos will be linked to their European Pet Night YouTube channel and may be used for future video material for use at trade fairs, conferences and exhibitions on companion animals. Full details on the campaign are available from the We Care Facebook page.