You may want to have a tissue on standby for this—Mars Petcare UK is looking to alleviate loneliness among senior citizens with Pedigree Dog Dates, which brings the joy of dogs to the elderly. The British initiative is pairing lonely members of the elderly population with visiting canine companions in the recognition that loneliness is something that affects all areas of society.
It’s estimated that by 2050, one-quarter of the UK population will be over 65, with many people living in solitude. Already, up to one in four seniors now suffer some form of social isolation in the UK, where loneliness is approaching epidemic proportions.
According to the UK’s Campaign to End Loneliness, 1.2 million older people are “chronically” lonely in the United Kingdom, which can trigger a range of psychological issues including alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders and depression. A 2015 study revealed a lack of social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Following a pilot test in Melton Mowbray, Mars Petcare UK is now rolling out PEDIGREE Dog Dates across the UK, accepting applications by people over 65 and dog owners whose pets have a friendly disposition. The pet visitation matching service is an effort to alleviate the loneliness experienced by the 9 million people age 65 and older across the UK.
“‘PEDIGREE Dog Dates’ is based on significant research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, showing that pets help older adults remain more physically and socially active,” stated Chris Rodi, Marketing Director at Mars Petcare UK, about the public affairs campaign.
Pedigree Dog Dates #pedigree #dogdates is such an amazing new initiative. They’ve created a dog-matching platform that matches older people with dogs and their owners in the same area and facilitate DOG DATES The first event has already happened in #MeltonMowbray this month! pic.twitter.com/YrArZWfAYu
— Kateryna Berezovska (@k_berezovska) April 23, 2018
“Seeing the positive impact on those who took part in the pilot scheme in Melton Mowbray, we knew we had to expand the ‘PEDIGREE Dog Dates’ program to more people. The number of elderly people currently suffering with chronic loneliness in the UK is staggering and we firmly believe this initiative can go a long way to reconnect people with their local communities.”
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