Pet Ownership could have a significant role in reducing Loneliness and Social Isolation
This is an area that we have refered to in previous blog posts back on 26th February (Someone’s Got a Date!) and more recently on 27th June (Animal Therapy for Seniors) and pet ownership and animal association is an area currently receiving significant research and attention.
As an animal lover will tell you, as much as we are there for our pets, they can also be there for us too. There are multiple organsiations and charities that seek to allow wider access to animals such as dogs and cats at organised events to brighten up the days of young patients and their families on visits to Great Ormond street Hospital or to elderly residents of a care home. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is one such charity. On the Second Thursday of every month their staff and volunteers take a group of dogs to visit the retired servicemen and women at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
A pet can provide a constant companion by your side, providing that knowledge and feeling that you are not alone. They also give you a reason to get up every morning, a reason to step outside daily to get some fresh air and some excercise. Simply a pet can provide a non-judgemental shoulder to cry on or a buddy to celebrate with.
Pet ownership should never be taken lightly as their are commitments required in terms of both time and means. Agian places such as Battersea offer fostering as a rewarding short time option for vulnerable cats and dogs to prepare them for rehoming. It provides a way of getting theownership experience but for short periods of time, between a few days to several months. They also offer volunterring opportunities which additionally help provide human interaction opportunities as well as day structuring and new routines, keeping not only the body but the mind active, all of which can be helpful in alleviating loneliness and stress.
Did You Know?
- More than a third of people describe their first pet as their best friend (Blue Cross)
- Stroking a pet can significantly reduce blood pressure, therefore lowering the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
- Loneliness can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad).
- There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK).