How can owning a pet improve my aging parent's mood and outlook?

Shelley Webb
Intangible, psychological benefits have been documented with pet ownership. Stroking animals relieves stress, and the presence of non-judgmental, devoted pets combats loneliness. As a result, depression, often due to loss and isolation, is greatly reduced. Elderly people also regain a sense of self-worth and self-confidence when they are responsible for the care and feeding of another life. Additionally, pet ownership pushes seniors to take better care of themselves. A trip to the grocery store to stock up on necessities or preparation of a meal may seem burdensome to some older people. Once they are concerned about having food on hand for their dog or fixing a meal for their dog or cat, the daily routines become important again.
UCLA Health People Animal Connection (PAC) Program
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Owning a pet can improve an aging parent’s mood and outlook a great deal. Having a pet contributes to a person’s increased sense of belonging and responsibility, as well as camaraderie because the pet is like a family member who needs to be taken care of.

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