Animals, Aging, and the Aged was first published in 1981. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This volume explores the significant contributions of animals to our understanding of aging, to improving geriatric medicine, and to providing companionship and assistance to the elderly. Leo L. Bustad discusses what can be learned from animal life-span studies about the process of aging, including the problems of cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and age-related mental conditions. The results of these studies suggest that changes in life-style—especially the diet—may modify the effects of chronic degenerative diseases.
Other studies show that caring for a pet can contribute greatly to the health and well being of the elderly. Bustad surveys experiments using animals in therapy and he presents, for the first time, evaluative instruments for choosing the appropriate pet. Companion animals allow many elderly people to maintain their independence. Animals are also helpful as aids for those with visual, hearing, and physical impairments. An appendix lists agencies that train dogs as aids to the physically impaired.
Animals, Aging, and the Aged is a thoughtful discussion of the physical, psychological, and social problems faced by the elderly, with emphasis on the ways that animals have contributed to the solution of some of those problems. As such, it will be useful for those involved in geriatric medicine and social work and in veterinary medicine and research. This book is volume 5 in the series Wesley W. Spink Lectures in Comparative Medicine.