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A US poll says that having a pet can help older adults overcome with mental and physical health issues, it showed that owning an animal lowers stress and gives people a feeling of life. While pets obviously come along with happiness but they can also bring concerns, and some people may even put their animals’ needs ahead of their own health, as the poll found.

In all, 55 percent of adults ages 50 to 80 have a pet, according to the new findings -- and more than half of those have multiple pets. More than three-quarters of pet owners claim that their animals reduce their stress, and nearly as many say pets give them a sense of purpose. Also, 18 percent also said having a pet or pets puts an extra burden on their budget.

Two-thirds of all pet owners and 78 percent of dog owners claimed that their pet helps them be physically active, according to the findings from the University of Michigan in the US.

More than 70 percent of these older adults said their pet helps them cope with physical or emotional symptoms, and 46 percent said their pets help them engage in happy activities that help them keep their minds off the pain.

“We have long known that pets are a common and naturally occurring source of support,” said Cathleen Connell, a professor at the University of Michigan.
“Although the benefits of pets are significant, social connections and activities with friends and family are also key to quality of life across the lifespan,” Connell said.
“Helping older adults find low-cost ways to support pet ownership while not sacrificing other important relationships and priorities is an investment in overall mental and physical health,” she said.

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