Aging & Geriatrics
Basic InformationLatest News
Rural Seniors Hurt by Lack of Medical SpecialistsHow Well Are You Aging? A Blood Test Might TellTaking Several Prescription Drugs May Trigger Serious Side EffectsCards, Board Games Could Be a Win for Aging BrainsAir Pollution May Up Glaucoma RiskEven in Small Doses, Air Pollution Harms Older AmericansCan Air Pollution Take a Toll on Your Memory?AHA News: Obesity, Other Factors May Speed Up Brain AgingGrandma Isn't So Lonely After AllMuscle in Middle Age Might Help Men's Hearts LaterFish Oil Rx Slows Clogging in ArteriesStatins Won't Harm Aging Brains, and May Even HelpAlmost Half of Older Americans Fear Dementia, Try Untested Ways to Fight ItPeople Who Can't Read Face 2-3 Times Higher Dementia RiskAHA News: Omega-3 May Boost Brain Health in People With a Common Heart DiseaseCommon Muscle Relaxant Could Pose Mental Dangers for SeniorsEducation a Buffer Against Alzheimer's Among Blacks: StudyEven a Little Exercise May Bring a Brain BoostVitamin D is Key to Muscle Strength in Older AdultsMany Older Americans Misuse Antibiotics: PollMany on Medicare Still Face Crippling Medical BillsTest Given at 8 May Predict Your Brain Health in Old AgeNumber of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040: Report'Dramatic Increase' Seen in U.S. Deaths From Heart FailureToo Many Seniors Back in Hospital for Infections Treated During First StayFor Seniors, Financial Woes Can Be Forerunner to Alzheimer'sGet Moving: Exercise Can Help Lower Older Women's Fracture RiskDon't Forget These Tips to Boost Your MemoryFamily Can Help Keep Delirium at Bay After SurgeryHow to Manage Your OsteoarthritisHealth Tip: Brain Games for SeniorsYour Personality as a Teen May Predict Your Risk of DementiaSteroid Shots for Painful Joints May Make Matters WorseHow Fast You Walk Might Show How Fast You're AgingStandard Memory Tests for Seniors Might Differ by GenderAHA News: Growing – and Aging – Hispanic Population at Risk for DementiaStroke Rate Continues to Fall Among Older AmericansMany U.S. Seniors Are Going Hungry, Study FindsMany Poor, Minority Seniors Get Cancer Diagnosis in the ERGive Seniors a Memory Check at Annual Checkups, Experts SayFor People at High Risk, Evidence That Exercise Might Slow Alzheimer'sStaying Healthy Now to Work Into Older AgeAggressive Blood Pressure Treatment Does Not Put Seniors at Risk: StudyCan Older Women Stop Getting Mammograms?Getting Hitched Might Lower Your Odds for DementiaMany Older Americans Aren't Equipped to Weather Hurricanes Like DorianHow You Can Help Head Off Alzheimer's DiseaseWho's Most Likely to Scam a Senior? The Answer May Surprise YouAHA News: Time With Grandkids Could Boost Health – Even LifespanEven Age 80 Is Not Too Late to Begin Exercising: Study
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Americans' Pets Help Ease the Aging Process, Poll Finds

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 3rd 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, April 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Richard McIntosh hadn't had any pets since his childhood farm dogs, but then he started a relationship with a competitive dog trainer and found his life filled with Golden Retrievers.

Now McIntosh, 59, of Cornelius, Ore., can't imagine growing old without a dog or two by his side.

"There was a little something missing from my life," McIntosh said. "These dogs give me activity, they give me joy, companionship. When I'm not feeling good, they're there for me. When I am feeling great, we're playing and running. I get a lot out of it."

According to a new poll, McIntosh is one of many aging pet owners who swear that their animal buddies help them better cope with the physical and mental issues that come with age.

About 55% of U.S. adults aged 50 to 80 have a pet, and an overwhelming majority of them say that their pets bring a host of positive benefits to their lives, the new National Poll on Healthy Aging found.

"Most people who have pets perceive that they are beneficial to their physical and emotional health," said Mary Janevic. She is an assistant research scientist with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, who helped design the poll.

The benefits of pet ownership for older folks included:

  • Helping them enjoy life (88%)
  • Making them feel loved (86%)
  • Reducing their stress (79%)
  • Providing a sense of purpose (73%)
  • Connecting them with other people (65%)
  • Helping them stick to a routine (62%)

It's long been shown that loneliness can strongly detract from healthy aging, and pets are a way to combat that, explained Dr. Alice Pomidor, a professor of geriatrics with the Florida State University College of Medicine.

"Loneliness in and of itself is a hazard to your health," Pomidor said. "People have greater rates of chronic disease and an earlier likelihood of illness or death."

Pets also help people with the physical aspects of aging, the poll results showed.

About 64% of all pet owners said their companions help them stay physically active, and that leaps to 78% for dog owners.

"The data on physical activity is very solid in terms of, just having any form of physical activity is far better than having no physical activity," Pomidor said. "It lengthens life span and increases your active life."

Around six out of 10 people said their pets help them cope with the physical and emotional symptoms of aging, and 34% said their pets take their mind off their pain.

However, pets aren't for all seniors.

About 42% without pets said they didn't want to be tied down by the responsibility of owning an animal, 23% said it would cost too much and 20% said they didn't have the time. One in six said they had allergies that prevent pet ownership, the findings showed.

Janevic said, "About a third of the people who didn't have pets mentioned reasons for not having pets that were external to them."

Having a pet isn't easy, the poll's pet owners said.

More than half said pets make it tough to get out of the house or travel, and one in five said pet care puts a strain on their budget.

Worryingly, about 6% reported that their pets caused them to fall or injure themselves.

"The vast majority of our respondents did experience positive effects on their health and well-being from their pets, but we did verify there are some less common negative effects associated with having pets as well," Janevic said.

McIntosh said he believes training your dog is crucial to enjoying them fully.

"If they're a well-trained companion that you can communicate with easily, then you're not going to be stumbling over them or having them run off," McIntosh said. "These are well-trained dogs, and that makes them way more joyful, at least for me."

The poll results are based on responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,051 adults, aged 50 to 80. The poll was conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and sponsored by the AARP and Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan's academic medical center.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about the health benefits of pets.


Amazon Smile


Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.


powered by centersite dot net