Loneliness in the Elderly

Do Pets Alleviate Loneliness in the Elderly?
Statistics show that when the elderly have a support system, especially when it comes from someone they care about, their lives are happier, and they live in better health longer. This happens even if the one they care about is a pet. The Centers for Disease Control reports, “Even pets can help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels, as well as alleviate feelings of loneliness, and the depression that can result.” (http://www.emaxhealth.com/116/7837.html)
“Older people who are abused or neglected are three times more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and accidental injuries than those who are not abused. They are also more likely to commit suicide (Bailey)(p222).” Taking care of a pet might help older adults to
Taking care of a pet has proven to reduce stress levels. If an elderly person does not have enough of a human support system, a dog, a cat, or some other pet could give a lonely, elderly person a sense of purpose that is essential to good physical and emotional well-being. The older person now becomes caregiver and which gives them more to live for, and helps them to be more active since they have to get up to walk the dog, or change the cat litter.   http://ezinearticles.com/?Latest-Studies-Prove-Pet-Owners-Live-Longer&id=1935417
Emotional needs are also met. If
The next benefit to elderly people that own pets is their emotional needs. Pets provide companionship and friendship that may be difficult to find in other humans. Pets are loyal, loving, affectionate, helpful, and non-negotiating. Some people really enjoy that they don't need to engage in social niceties with their pets; they can just get along and spend companionable time together. Some studies have shown that a large percentage of people who own pets say that their dog, cat, or bird are their best friend. That speaks a lot about the health and emotional benefits of these loving animals....