Elderly Benefit Particularly From Pets

March 5th, 2010

The news that legislation is being proposed in the UK which would give elderly people the right to take their pets with them when they move into residential care homes or sheltered accommodation  is long overdue. Separation from a pet which has been a constant companion over a number of years can be incredibly traumatic. Furthermore, the benefits of pet-ownership for the elderly are well-established.

Young barhead budgerigars

Several years ago, two groups of elderly people took an active part in a study investigating the impact of pets on people’s lives.  The members of one group were given a budgerigar each, while the others received a begonia pot plant. Those with budgerigars showed marked changes in their lifestyle as a result of their new pet. They insisted on taking responsibility, by going out to purchase seed and other essentials for their bird’s care, and clearly become very attached to their pet.

There was also another more subtle change which the researchers recorded as well.  Keeping a budgerigar made their owners more outgoing and less introspective than had formerly been the case, and gave them a more positive outlook on life, as well as a new topic for conversation.

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