Survey Says ... Pets May Help Seniors Stay Sharp and Fit

Friday, September 14, 2007 General News
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ST. LOUIS, Sept 13 Could man's best friend help youimprove your memory, lose weight and stave off depression when you enter yoursenior years? According to a national Purina Senior PetLover survey* of 514pet-owning Americans, ages 60 and older:

"Research showing the physical benefits of pet ownership for seniors,which includes lower systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels (1), hasbeen well-documented over the years. However, seniors also benefitemotionally from pet ownership, which might not be as easily seen on theoutside, but can greatly impact their quality of life and enable them to feeltheir best," says Steve Cohn, DVM, a Purina Pets For Seniors veterinarian.

A Healthy Dose of Pets Gets Seniors UP and GOING

Although constant companionship is the best aspect of owning a dog or cataccording to 88 percent, seniors also see other benefits of pet ownership thatinclude a positive outlook on life and a renewed interest in being active. Infact, 69 percent of senior pet owners said their pet makes them look forwardto each new day and that's the same positive attitude that contributes to amore active lifestyle. Pet ownership provides a powerful incentive forseniors to get moving because they know it's good for their health, and it'sanother way to interact with their pet. For example, seniors acknowledgetheir pet is their companion, but 55 percent of those surveyed said they alsosee their pet as their playmate, and so the simple act of playing leads tomore vibrant seniors. Even more, 71 percent of the women said their pet keepsthem energized, which is a great reason for people of all ages to consideradopting a pet.

Purina Senior PetLover Adoption Month

In order to communicate the life-enriching benefits of pet ownership amongsenior citizens, and to help homeless pets find loving homes, Purina isestablishing October as Purina(R) Senior PetLover Adoption month. During thistime, animal shelters nationwide will be encouraging seniors to adopt pets byhosting Purina Senior PetLover Adoption events in their local areas. At eachevent, shelters will try to pair seniors with adoptable pets in the hopes ofultimately finding a forever home for the pet and a perfect companion for thesenior. Plus, for qualifying seniors age 60 years or older, Purina and TonyLa Russa's Senior Adoption Program will underwrite most of the adoption fee tomake it financially easier for them to adopt.

"We know that thousands of dogs and cats need good homes, so it is awin-win situation when bringing a pet into the home improves the quality oflife for both the pet and owner," says Dr. Cohn. "By rallying together withlocal shelters during Purina Senior PetLover Adoption Month, we help seniorsbecome familiar with the benefits of pet ownership and make it physicallyeasier for them to adopt a new pet."

How Can Pet Lovers Support the Cause?

On Sunday, September 16, 2007, pet owners across the country can supportthe cause of senior pet adoption by utilizing PetLover coupons appearing inlocal newspapers nationwide. For each PetLover coupon redeemed betweenSeptember 16, 2007 and November 30, 2007, Purina will donate $0.03 to Tony LaRussa's Senior Adoption Program with a minimum donation of $60,000. Fordetails on the Purina(R) Senior PetLover Adoption Month campaign with Tony LaRussa's Senior Adoption Program, please visit La Russa's Senior Adoption Program provides a $50 discount off aneligible senior citizen's pet adoption fee for individuals 60 years of age andolder.

* The survey interviewed 514 adults, ages 60 and over, living in theUnited States during a two-week period in late July 2007. Phone interviewswere conducted via Opinion Research Corporation, a pioneer in marketingresearch. The results have a margin of error of +/- 5% at the 95% confidencelevel for comparable data between th

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