Pet improves mental health of single seniors: study

Old lady with pet

Being surrounded by a cherished dog or cat might help a growing percentage of American seniors who reside solo preserve mental health (healthy brain). Cognitive decline (memory loss) is a common occurrence among older persons. The decline in cognitive abilities (mental abilities) among older persons is an important issue for the public’s health as the population grows and lifespan rises. It is projected that by 2050, there could be 153 million individuals with dementia sufferers globally, compared to a population of 57 million in 2019. A reduction in cognitive abilities not only causes significant harm to the psychological well-being of the affected persons but also places a heavy load on the caregivers as well the medical and financial sectors of the community. Among elderly persons, loneliness may act as a moderator in the relationship between living in isolation and dementia.

Also Read: How To Deal With The Stress of Competition

Owning a pet (such as a dog or cat) reduces loneliness, which is a significant risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline, in contrast to residing solo. However, researchers have not thoroughly investigated the correlation between owning a pet and the progression of dementia, and the results that have been found are still subject to debate.

What does study aim?

The relationship among owning a pet and dementia is yet unknown, as is the degree to which pet ownership attenuates the negative effects of living alone. The study aims to investigate the relationship between owning a pet and living alone. The interplay among the two and the degree to which pet ownership reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older persons who live alone. This recent study includes over 7,900 individuals with an average age of 66 years revealed that individuals who were single may prevent cognitive decline and loss of memory if they kept a pet.

Findings in the study

The team leader stated that having a dog or cat is associated with decreased loneliness, which is a significant risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia. Researchers observed that as individuals become older, they are living alone, more and more; according to statistics from 2021, 28.5 percent of Americans were living alone.

The group of researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, china observed that as per several studies elderly individuals who reside alone have higher risks of adapting dementia.

Also Read: Pet and its Psychological Impacts on Parents

Can pets reduce the risk?

This new study relies on data collected from hundreds of British citizens aged 50 or above, whose mental health and lifestyle were monitored between 2010 and 2019. The majority (56%) were female.

There is little data on the relationship between having a pet and the degree of cognitive decline in seniors. Despite the possibility that having a pet might offset the negative correlation among living without company and the pace of decline in cognition. This study observed that elderly people who resides alone without any companion or partner. Owning a pet or living with a pet was connected to greater likelihood of deterioration in verbal memory and fluency as well as overall verbal cognition. The study also demonstrated a connection between pet ownership and enhanced quality of verbal memory. It’s offers creative ideas to formulate public health regulations that will slow down the aging process of elderly individuals who live alone.

Also Read: Peter Pan syndrome- A child trapped in an adult’s body

The study indicates that older individuals who live alone experience a heightened risk of dementia, and altering the status of living alone is not easily achievable. In comparison pet owners who live alone did not exhibit quicker rates of loss in verbal fluency and memory than pet owners who resides with others. And having a pet is a straightforward change.

These results imply that for elderly persons living alone, owning a pet may improve verbal fluency as well verbal memory. It will need standardized scientific research to determine whether having a pet slows down the rate of cognitive deterioration in single elderly persons.

  • JAMA Network open
Exit mobile version