There are a lot of pet owners in the U.S.; between 70 and 80 million dogs and about the same number of cats share our lives. (1) The Research on Pet Ownership You’ve probably heard through newspapers, magazines, TV, radio—and, of course, the Internet—that pet ownership positively impacts your health. Animal-assisted therapy has become commonplace in hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. What’s the research on the impact of pets? Actually research results are a mixed bag. There has been much research, but often there are problems with the research, low numbers of research participants, or difficulty in culling out the effect of pet ownership and animal assisted therapy with other factors. For example, a meta-analysis of several studies of people with poor social function who participated in animal-assisted therapy did find social function improvement. It also found moderate effects on depression, anxiety and behavioral issues. But the authors felt that the research methods used in the reviewed studies were inconsistent; they even said to be “conservative” when interpreting their meta-analysis results. (2) Positive Health Impacts of Pet Ownership However, pet ownership research has had positive findings. One study looking at pet ownership among older adults found that those people who lived alone without a pet were at greater odds of reporting feeling lonely. (3) This outcome may be due to what another research study found: pet owners are more likely to get to know their neighbors than non-pet owners. (4) The American Heart Association put together a Scientific Statement based on review of literature around cardiovascular disease risk and pet ownership. They evaluated the literature with an eye on risk factors like high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, lack of physical activity and obesity. With regard to blood pressure, they found that some of the studies found lower blood pressure in people who own pets. Others did not. There wasn’t an association with pet ownership and hyperlipidemia. They found that owning dogs increases the likelihood of physical activity. In fact, dog owners are more likely to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity than non-dog owners. Physical activity can reduce obesity, but another role of pets is social support. Social support is an important component of initiating and maintaining behavior changes like losing weight. Additionally, barriers to exercise, like neighborhood safety, can be overcome with the presence of a dog. Most, but not all studies, show that pet ownership helps with stress. [...]
Share “I had a terrible headache for two days and very seldom had headache – …once a year tops. I took my kids and Sharon to see [a] movie…and at the end…I got up…collapsed and I do not [know] what happened to me.” ~John Anderson Stroke Stroke is one of the most common causes of death …
Kathleen D. Hoffman, PhD's insight:
What's happening to #stroke #survivors with regard to #rehabilitation access, #healthinsurance coverage?
You have heard the word “cancer” from your physician. Treatment may be the number one item on your list of priorities. If you are working full-time, your next thought may be about work. You’re not alone. There are about 14.5 million cancer survivors. Studies show that maintaining your employment is good for your health: it can help you maintain your sense of normalcy, your self-esteem and your quality of life. Businesses also benefit from keeping valuable employees. When businesses lose an employee, they lose expertise and customer relationships that have been built. Businesses incur costs of recruiting and training replacements. By keeping employees, businesses also improve the productivity and the morale of all employees. So staying employed would seem to be a win-win. Yet statistics reveal that cancer survivors are 1.4 times more likely to be unemployed than people without cancer. How can survivors maintain their employment status? There are two important Federal laws that provide employment protections. The Family Medical Leave Act requires businesses of 50 or more employees to provide 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during every 12-month period. For up-to-date information about FMLA, check this website. The other Federal law that may provide employment protection is the Americans with Disabilities Act. In businesses of 15 or more employees, the Federal government prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. In some cases, having cancer is seen as a disability. The website to learn more about this Act is on the Equal Opportunity Employment page. Short and long term disability may be required or provided by your company. The policy manual or Human Resources department are the best places to find this information. When communicating with HR, bring your calendar of treatment appointments. In order to maintain your reputation as a good worker, provide a description of when you will be out and when you will be back to work regular hours. As FMLA can be taken incrementally, this is a way to show your employer that your absences are temporary and you are interested in returning to work full time as soon as possible. This is also important for you. Being in charge during this this discussion by providing dates and times you will be back to work, gives you a sense of control during a time when you may feel that much of your life is out of control.
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