We live in an ageing society and this has all sorts of implications for the future. How society treats the less fortunate sections of the elderly population is a barometer of how civilised we are. Research is demonstrating that pets like dogs can make a huge difference to the life of a retired person, yet how many care homes are dog friendly?
This question has recently been asked by more and more people. According to The Daily Mail, pet ownership can have a real positive impact on the lives of the elderly. Most of us are or will be elderly at some point, so it’s time dog lovers took this topic very seriously.
The presence of a dog can help us cope with feelings of loneliness and meaninglessness. As owners, we really get more from our dogs than we realise. If we are elderly and own a dog we are more likely to avoid ill health than people without a pet. The latest statistics indicate that dog owners are less prone to heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes and hospitalisation than our friends who don’t own pets. This may be partly because of the exercise we do with our dogs, but that is not the only factor.
Mr Clive Sherwin was able to take TJ, his Cavalier King Charles spaniel, into a retirement home in the Cotswolds. Clive is confined to a wheelchair and regards TJ as his family. The fact they will not be parted has cheered up Clive. Unlike in other countries, not so many British care homes are prepared to accept dogs. This needs to change, because dogs and owners benefit when they are allowed to be together.
The Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) stated that only one third of British care homes have a pet policy whereas abroad many countries have legislation giving older people the right to keep their pets. Three retirement home providers in the UK are known to allow pets: Audley Care, Archstone Lifestyle Homes and Churchill Retirement Living.
Many dog lovers could not bear to be parted from their dogs, and with an ageing population this is something that should be address.