A national survey on “healthy aging” in the United States has confirmed that acquiring a pet may help older people cope with their psychological and physical problems.
The results of the survey, conducted by the Institute for Health Care Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan, showed that there are important considerations to be taken into account, including that these elderly people may present their animals’ needs to their own interests, with one in six respondents stating that they prefer to meet animal needs over their personal needs.
2,051 people between the ages of 50 and 80 participated in the poll, 45% said they did not own pets, and 55% said they owned an animal Domestic pets (68% own dogs, 48% own cats, 16% own small pets such as fish birds and hamsters), and more than half of pet owners have more than one animal.
More than 75% of animal owners said they reduce their stress and give them a sense of purpose, while 18% complain of physical suffering from animal husbandry.
Two-thirds of pet owners and 78% of dog owners said that their animals help them to exercise physical activity, and more than 70% said that the animals they acquire help them cope with their psychological and physical problems, while 46% identified that the pet keeps their focus from feeling pain.
Mary Janvik, a researcher at the Center for Chronic Disease Management at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and co-author of the study, said in a statement to Science: “The acquisition of pets has many benefits for physical health, as these animals help. – Especially dogs – their owners on physical activity through daily walking, which doctors recommend to avoid or live with many chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic pain, in addition to the tasks of caring for animals require activity and movement, in addition to The joy of acquiring pets by the elderly makes it feel like the elderly are happy.
Kathleen Connell, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and co-author of the study, explains, according to the press release, that “the acquisition of pets by the elderly should not be at the expense of their human and social relationships and activities with friends and family, which is an investment in mental and physical health in general.
The researchers point out that “despite the benefits of acquiring a pet by the elderly, such as walking with the dog as a kind of physical activity, the risk of falling threatens many, as 6% of the respondents said that they have fallen or been injured by the animal they acquire, and that the death of the animal may cause a psychological crisis for the owner because of his severe association with him, which is what those around the elderly, such as family members and friends and those who provide him with social or psychological services, and the care of the elderly, as well as the care of the elderly, such as those who provide them with social services or the body, and the care of the elderly, such as those who provide them with social or psychological services. Pets are a source of concern for those who live on a fixed income, especially when the animal is chronically ill.”
“There’s no plan anytime soon, but we’re doing research right now to figure out how pets can help older people cope with chronic pain,” says Janvik.