Benefits of pets for older people takes centre stage in New Orleans

WALTHAM and Mars Petcare present new research results at major aging conference.

Human Animal Interaction

7th December 2016: More than 3,600 international experts from academia, industry, and government gathered in New Orleans last month to discuss the science of ageing at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). The meeting theme was "New Lens on Aging: Changing Attitudes, Expanding Possibilities”. WALTHAMTM Science and Mars Petcare (Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs) had a high profile at this premier gathering of gerontologists from both the United States and around the world. There were over 450 scientific sessions including symposia, paper, and poster presentations. WALTHAM™ and Mars Petcare organised and chaired a symposium on Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) and healthy ageing. The symposium brought together experts from the field of HAI to present key scientific findings related to how animals impact the lives of older adults and to identify key areas for future research. Presentations were delivered by Nancy Gee (WALTHAM™ HAI Research Manager and Professor at the State University of New York) and Professor Megan Mueller of Tufts University.

The recent formation of an HAI Interest Group (IG) is a key outcome of the strategic partnership that WALTHAM™ and Mars Petcare (Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs) have established with the GSA, and its inaugural meeting (co-convened by Professors Gee and Megan Mueller) immediately followed the symposium. In celebration, conference participants were invited to meet, greet, and relax with local therapy dogs, along with representatives of the IG.

The GSA’s President, Nancy Morrow-Howell, hopes that bringing together ageing experts with other health-related fields such as HAI will contribute to changing attitudes that limit the potential of late life and promote healthy ageing and the development of age-inclusive communities.