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Health Benefits of Pet Ownership for Older Adults

By Molly Cook, Sydney Busch

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Background: Over the last few decades, life expectancy has increased causing a significant rise and rising number of senior citizens. This has resulted in greater demand and spending in healthcare for this growing population, due to, the increase risk for health problems that are associated with older age. Objectives: The purpose of this literature review is to examine the health benefits of pet ownership for older adults. This study will provide information on what health benefits come with pet ownership, and how this can affect the elderly population. Method: A computerized integrative review was conducted using various combinations of the following key words: pet ownership, health benefits, elderly, elderly population, older adults, pet's, companionship, older population, dog ownership, physiological effects, mental health, physiological response, animal care, health risks. The literature included in the review were written within the last fifteen years and were found by using PubMed, ProQuest, PsycInfo and CINAHL databases. Results: Through examination of the literature, it was determined that there are various physical, emotional, and social benefits of pet ownership in the elderly. Specifically, pet ownership was found to increase physical activity, increase social interactions, and decrease loneness. Conclusions: This literature review suggests that pet ownership can improve the quality of life in the elderly population through increased physical and mental health.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Pages 20
Conference Title The Grace Peterson Nursing Colloquium
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. animal companionship
  2. Health benefits
  3. Mental health and well-being
  4. Older adults
  5. open access
  6. Pet ownership
  7. Pets and companion animals
  8. physiology
  1. open access