It turns out that Fluffy is more than just a cute face around the house.
The National Poll on Healthy Aging recently conducted a survey of adults aged 50 to 80, asking them about their pets, reasons for choosing to have – or not have – a pet and the benefits/disadvantages of owning a pet.
The results from the poll suggest that aging adults in particular can benefit from animal companionship.
Over half of the participants reported owning a pet. 88% said that their pet helped them enjoy life, while 86% reported that their pet made them feel loved.
The health benefits of pets to older owners are numerous: 79% reported a reduced stress level, 73% said their pet provided them with a sense of purpose, 65% felt their pet helped them connect with others and 64% were more physically active thanks to owning an animal.
That being said, owning an animal in your later years doesn’t come without challenges. Pets can be physically demanding, expensive and potentially spread disease.
For those who find owning their own pet to be too much to handle, many health benefits can still be reaped by utilizing pet therapy services. Numerous organizations will let you “rent” a trained service animal for some quality time with a four-legged friend.