The International Federation on Ageing and Bayer invited amateur and professional photographers around the world to join in highlighting the benefits of companion animals on the health of older adults by taking part in an international photographic competition under the theme #CompanionAnimals.
This photo competition draws attention to the 2014 released report entitled, “Companion Animals and the Health of Older Persons,” demonstrating the multiple therapeutic benefits of companion animals. Photo entries were judged not only on their photographic merit but on how they demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of companion animals for older adults.
After showcasing the top twenty finalists at the Global Conference, we are pleased to now announce the winners of the photo contest, as voted by Conference attendees. Congratulations to all!
First Place – Tie – Julie Williams, Florence Ley, and Marlowe the Dog
First Place – Tie – Supriya Biswas
Third Place – Allison Reid and Heather the Dog
Congratulations to the top 20 finalists on their incredible photos and demonstration of physical, emotional, psychological and social benefits that companion animals bring to older adults:
World Cancer Day
The first infographic features the multifaceted benefits of Companion Animals to health care systems in terms of cost savings, emotional support and early cancer detection. Emerging studies have shown that dogs can smell minute odours associated with many cancers, and can sniff out cancers with 90% accuracy. The infographic can be viewed here.
World Glaucoma Week
The second infographic highlights the role of Companion Animals for improving social capital of older people, and assisting those with vision impairments. In situations where diseases such as glaucoma result in vision loss, guide dogs act as a second pair of eyes to assist with daily tasks, such as fetching items, turning on lights or crossing the street. The infographic can be viewed here.
World Health Day
The third infographic highlights the role of Companion Animals in improving the physical health of older people, and the role of veterinarians in supporting older people to care for their pets. Over a one year period, older adults who lived with Companion Animals reported a slower deterioration in their ability to perform activities of daily living. The infographic can be viewed here.
International Nurses Day
The fourth infographic highlights the role of Companion Animals in long term care facilities as well as the important role of nurses in supporting therapy programs, through patient screening, consent, research and guidance. The infographic can be viewed here.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
The fifth infographic highlights the role of Companion Animals in fostering the development of age-friendly environments. Strong community bonds help prevent feelings of isolation in older people, and can help prevent and address instances of abuse. The infographic can be viewed here.
International Day of Friendship
The sixth and final infographic in the series outlines the importance of the human-animal bond for emotional, psychological, social and physical health of older people. The infographic can be viewed here.
Partners: One Health Initiative, American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians (AAH-ABV), Animal & Societies Institute, Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA), The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
This photographic competition has been launched in response to the published report Companion Animals and the Health of Older Persons. This report is the most extensive literature review to date of research undertaken in the field of companion animals and the health of older people. Encompassing published research from 1980 to 2013, it considers the impact on the physical, psychological, emotional and social health of older people, both in the community as pet owners and as residents of care facilities and other institutions to whom animals are introduced for recreational and therapeutic purposes. The economic impact of companion animals is also considered. Despite limitations and gaps in the research caused by weak project design or poorly-controlled studies, the positive indicators of improvements to the health and well-being of older people are encouraging and affirm the value of future research in this field.