In 2030, more than 24% of the European population will be over 65. In Italy, specifically, the over 65s are over 13 million. The demographic forecasts clearly indicate that older people and how we deal with the issue will be very important
Then there is a study that says that in patients with chronic diseases (eg hypertension, diabetes, depression), owning a pet, along with proper nutrition, could bring great benefits. With, among other things, an annual saving of about 4 billion euros for the National Health System.
The presence of an animal can stimulate the elderly to exercise, promote social interactions and awaken mental elasticity. Scientific studies, in particular, have confirmed benefits such as decreased stress, lowered blood pressure, improved circulation and lower cholesterol levels.
Thus geriatricians and veterinarians began to collaborate with the aim of developing a path. The project is called Vet-Eris and aims to outline guidelines on the role of animal-assisted activities and therapies in improving the quality of life of the elderly.
The plan represents an absolute first experience in the national field and was presented at the “Florence Geriatric Health Alliance 2022” congress, which took place these days in the Tuscan capital.
“The project was created to promote active and healthy aging through healthy lifestyles – explains Andrea Ungar, Professor of Geriatrics at the University of Florence, Director at the University OU of Geriatrics of the University Hospital of Careggi and President of the Congress – through interventions not pharmacologicals that can improve the quality of life itself “.
“Human-animal interaction and the creation of a bond, even a temporary one, has shown therapeutic benefits. – he adds – The presence of an animal, in fact, can stimulate the elderly to exercise, promote social interactions and awaken the mental elasticity. Scientific studies, in particular, have confirmed benefits such as the reduction of stress, the lowering of pressure, the improvement of circulation and lower cholesterol levels “.
The International Association of Human Animal Organizations (IAHAIO) defines animal-assisted procedures as structured interventions, aimed at the inclusion of animals in the social and health sphere, in order to achieve therapeutic benefits on the quality of life.