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How Your Pet Makes Aging Easier, According to Science

We don’t have to come out and tell you that curling up with your furry best pal at the end of the day makes you feel good. But now, scientific research has confirmed just how good for your health and wellbeing having a pet really is.

A recent study looking at how pets influence the health of older adults out of the University of Michigan polled 2,762 people aged 50 to 80 years old. It revealed that 55 percent of these adults had a pet, and about 50 percent of those adults had more than one. Of the pet owners polled, more than three quarters of them said their pets helped to ease stress, and many of them said they gave them a sense of purpose in their lives. 

Two thirds of all pet owners and 78 percent of dog owners also reported that their furry friends kept them physically active. And what’s more, 70 percent of older adults dealing with health issues said their animals helped them deal with debilitating physical and emotional symptoms, while 46 percent of them said their pets helped with pain management. Wow!

“This study highlights the many physical, psychological, and social benefits that pets can have for older adults,” said Alison Bryant, PhD, senior vice president of research for AARP. “In recognition of these health benefits, more assisted living facilities today are allowing residents to have pets.” It’s about time, don’t you think?

This study shows that not only do pets keep people active as time goes along, but that they also serve as a much-needed support during a time in our lives when physical and emotional stress can be high. So, keep up the nightly walks around the park and belly rubs on the couch — they’re good for your animal and for you!

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