New Handbook for Welcoming Pets at Nation’s Senior Centers | HABRI

New Handbook for Welcoming Pets at Nation’s Senior Centers

High Interest in Animal Programming Drives HABRI-NCOA Partnership

High Interest in Animal Programming Drives HABRI-NCOA Partnership

Washington, D.C. (June 6, 2018) — (Washington, D.C.) June 6, 2018 The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) have teamed up develop a handbook focused on helping senior center administrators incorporate pet-friendly programming and policies into their facilities. The handbook, Older Adults and Animal Programming, provides an overview of the scientific research that demonstrates the benefits of human-animal interaction, and a path forward for senior centers looking to develop or expand animal programming.

HABRI and NISC first conducted a survey of senior center administrators from across the country to gauge interest in animal programming. A large majority of senior centers surveyed allowed animals in some way, with many senior centers expressing a strong desire for more pet-friendly programs and policies. Responses were received from 113 NISC-member senior center administrators from across America. Of the 28% of respondents that had a current therapy animal program, significant positive health benefits for participants were reported:

  • Improved social interaction 71%
  • Improved mental health 48%
  • Increased physical activity 35%

“Scientific research demonstrates the benefits of the human-animal bond for healthy aging – from reducing blood pressure to encouraging social interaction to reducing stress and depression,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “With this handbook and through our strategic partnership with NCOA and NISC, we can increase opportunities for seniors to experience the healing power of the human-animal bond.”

“Only 32% of the senior centers that responded to the survey reported having pet policies in place, so we feel the handbook is a timely and important opportunity to have conversations about the added value that pet programming can provide to the lives of seniors and staff alike,” said Maureen O’Leary, Program Manager for NISC. “We’re excited to provide this excellent resource, and we look forward to working with HABRI to disseminate best practices so even more senior centers become pet-friendly.”

The Older Adults and Animal Programming handbook features key recommendations for senior center administrators, and also addresses some of the informational needs discovered through the survey. Only about one-third of the survey respondents indicated that their staff was trained on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service animal guidelines, and over half of respondents did not have existing policies in place pertaining to animal programming. The handbook provides guidance on ADA requirements pertaining to service animals, sample pet policies, and recommendations for animal programming policies and procedures.

“Senior centers know that animal companions – service animals and pets alike – are part of the family, and they are excited to expand their programming to support that bond,” added O’Leary. “With this handbook, we hope centers across the country will find what they need to get started.”

About HABRI

HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

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Press Releases
Turn Your Office Into A ‘Woofice’

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today the latest installment of The Pet Effect campaign highlighting the many benefits of pets at work. The Woofice combines research supporting the benefits of pet-inclusive workplaces with practical tools for offices that want to become pet inclusive, all delivered with an entertaining, lighthearted approach. The Woofice video features a series of vignettes designed to pay homage to the beloved TV show, The Office, while delivering research-based messages about the positive impact of pets in the workplace. “With millennial pet owners driving demand for more pet-friendly offices, The Woofice campaign is incredibly timely,” said Steven Feldman HABRI Executive Director. “It is HABRI’s genuine hope that The Woofice videos and campaign content catch on and inspire people to take steps to create pet-friendly workplaces, so that the benefits of strong and healthy human-animal bonds can not only be experienced at home but also every weekday from 9 to 5!” Research supports a host of benefits from having pets at work. For example, research has found a link between a pet-friendly workplace and improved communication and collaboration among employees. Studies have also shown that pets can help buffer stress, encourage interaction and rapport between neighbors in communities, and improve other elements of physical and mental health, such as increased physical activity and decreased depression. “The Woofice video is a fun way to educate employees and HR professionals on the importance of pet-inclusive workplaces for greater productivity, enhanced employee engagement, and improved relationships in the office,” Feldman added. The Woofice campaign includes data on pet-inclusive workplaces, which found that pet-friendly companies are more likely to attract, engage and retain employees. It also highlights research showing that more than three times as many employees at pet-friendly workplaces reported a positive...

Press Releases
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