Neurological Perspectives on Pets and the Elderly: The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Grandparents

  • Maria Vaz PattoEmail author


The last century and the beginning of the current one have seen an increase in the number of elderly people in society. Ageing is generally associated with an increase in dependency, multimorbidity and social isolation, but old people with a healthy ageing process are able to fully operate in society, by being important contributors to several processes and serving as mentors to the younger generation. Does owning a pet have any advantage for an elderly individual? Pets are helpful in terms of social, emotional, cognitive and motor capacities of their elderly owners, but they also can be a source of trouble. The benefits and hazards of having a pet for an elderly population are reviewed in the light of the more frequent neurological changes presented after 65 years of age. In spite of some very interesting studies about pet ownership in the elderly, there are still several questions to be answered. Pet ownership can be, together with changes in mentality and changes in political and social issues, a positive factor for a healthy ageing process in the elderly, as can be seen when we review and evaluate data obtained in various studies, so far.


Pet ownership Therapy dogs Elderly Ageing Disablement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ULSG – Unidade local de Saúde da GuardaGuardaPortugal
  2. 2.CICS – Health Sciences Research Centre, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  3. 3.NuESA – Health & Environment Study Group, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal

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