Pets Our Very Best Soulmates To Grow Old Together

Old man holding a chicken

Friends to Grow Old Together

Loneliness. One of the most heartbreaking symptoms of aging that we all face in some way. Our aging populace tends to become displaced. Being left in their home as family moves away or a spouse passes to being removed altogether out of their own homes into assisted living communities. Although they are safe and cared for, they may also be the most solitary time of their lives.

Old age happens to us all.

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The elderly are wonderful companions to animals. They keep each other company. They offer a relationship of trust, responsibility and improve the quality of life for both. And the protection of that bond is something that society and science is beginning to embrace.


Pets provide many benefits to their older guardians. Did you know:

  • Pet owners over the age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without.
  • Society for Companion Animal Studies reported that: “Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decrease in cardiovascular dementia risk…”
  • Just petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure.
  • The responsibility and routine of pet ownership improves alertness and focus


There is new research that shows an amazing effect that pet ownership has on those suffering from dementia associated with Alzheimer’s.

  • Research at the University of California-Davis concluded that Alzheimer’s patients suffer less stress and have fewer anxious outbursts if there is a dog or cat in the home.
  • Dogs can provide a source of positive, nonverbal communication.
  • The playful interaction and gentle touch from a well-trained, docile dog can help soothe and decrease aggressive behavior.
  • Pets can help ease the stress of caregivers.

According to a recent survey, nearly 5% of elderly people would consider committing suicide if their pet was taken away from them in order for them to enter a care home. Of those surveyed, over 20% said that they would refuse to go into a care home if it meant leaving their pet behind.


And elder care specialists are listening. There are several in-home care services now promoting the bond between pet and elder companion—and they cater to that bond providing loving in care for the elderly and the pet. Many nursing homes now utilize companion animal visit programs—where shelters bring in their animals for a daily or weekly visit. These programs provide necessary socialization that is important to both dogs and cats and people. There have even been occasional visits by the equine groups as well.


Just 15 minutes of bonding lowers levels of cortisol, the stress chemical in the brain and increases serotonin—which relaxes the mind and body. Heart rate, blood pressure lower immediately and over the long term, may help prevent heart disease and stroke.


The benefits are many and well documented. However, once you witness the love, hear the laughter, see the smiles and tail wags igniting the spark of life and the contentedness of both human and animal, the facts and scientific research become unnecessary. Love, between pets and their elderly guardian, is a most powerful drug.