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Having a pet can benefit an older person's health

Older couple walking a dog through the woods

People have always referred to dogs as man’s best friend, but the true extent of how pets can benefit your life has recently been uncovered. As you become older, there are well-known changes you may need to make such as, installing a curved stairlift or taking extra vitamins. However, a change that is not as well-known is welcoming a pet into your home, as new research reveals that owning a pet can improve the physical and mental health of older people.

New figures from the National Poll on Healthy Aging show that 55% of adults own a pet, out of the 2,051 people they surveyed. They discovered those who own a pet have received emotional benefits including finding joy in daily life and feeling loved.

Loneliness can have devasting effects for older people including memory loss, depression and negative effects on physical health. Having a pet can be a great way for people to try and combat loneliness, which is shown in the research, as 73% of people believe that owning a pet provides them with a sense of purpose.

Many people have bought a pet purely for companionship and have seen a decrease in stress and some have also found a pet helps them cope with their physical pain. Mind Body Green reports one of the researchers who led the study said: “Relationships with pets tend to be less complicated than those with humans, and pets are often a source of great enjoyment. They also provide older adults with a sense of being needed and loved.”

In previous studies, by the American Heart Association, owning a dog, in particular, has great rewards. The research linked dog ownership with a reduced risk of heart disease, as well as encouraging older people to keep exercising, as they are more than likely to go outside for a long walk at least once a day.

The study determines that if older people enjoy the company of animals, then there are more positive than negative reasons associated with owning a pet. Some pets are even trained in therapy and assisted living, the study believes there could be great benefits if care homes started to involve pets in the communal experience.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.