LifestyleStudy links pet ownership with slower memory loss in the elderly living alone

Study links pet ownership with slower memory loss in the elderly living alone

Having animals can bring us many benefits.
Having animals can bring us many benefits.
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1:36 PM EST, December 27, 2023

The newest outcomes suggest that owning a pet could be linked to a slower decline in cognitive functions among elderly people living alone. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after examining 7945 individuals aged 50 or older, with the average participant age being 66.3 years.

Pet ownership can offer numerous benefits

Experts observed that pet ownership was correlated with a slower decline in verbal memory, verbal fluency, and overall verbal cognition among seniors living alone. This correlation, however, was not found among those living with others. Further, it was determined that pet ownership effectively offset the adverse effects of living alone on verbal memory, fluency, and overall cognizance.

Cognitive functions mainly involve memory, the ability to learn new information, speech, reading comprehension, and communication. These functions tend to degrade with age, impacting the quality of life. The aforementioned study indicated a slowing down of verbal memory deterioration, that is, the preservation of verbal records of thought content, as well as verbal fluency, which entails proficiency in vocabulary use.

Despite their findings, scientists emphasize the need for additional research to definitively determine whether pet ownership slows the deterioration of cognitive function in seniors living alone. As noted by Earth.com, this is not the first study to examine the potential cognitive benefits of pet ownership. In some instances, similar results were found, but in others, no significant relationship was established between the two factors. Earth.com pointed out that such discrepancies may be due to differences in research design and the cognitive tests employed, stressing the need for more comprehensive analysis.

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