Factirs related to type of companion pet owned by older women

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Although pets can be valuable companions for older adults, little is known about why older adults select a specific kind of pet. This study examined demographic (e.g., marital status, health status), health (i.e., well-being, loneliness), and environmental characteristics (i.e., living arrangement, type of housing) of 159 older women in terms of whether they had a companion dog or cat. Significantly more women who were married/partnered had dogs, whereas more single women had cats. Significantly more women who lived alone had cats, whereas more women who lived with someone had dogs. Women with companion dogs had significantly lower depressed mood and higher levels of general health, vitality, and total well-being than those with cats. Although loneliness was somewhat greater among women with cats, the difference was not statistically significant. More women living in 55-and-older communities had cats, whereas more women living in private homes had dogs. Practicing psychiatric nurses can use the information generated from this research to advocate for pet companionship in order to enhance well-being in older women. © SLACK Incorporated.

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Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services

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