Rethinking the Value of Pets

The New York Times:

Think an elderly family member is better off with a pet? You may want to think again.

Sure, there have been hundreds of articles claiming dogs and cats can lower blood pressure, zap stress and combat depression and loneliness. But some experts say the evidence that pet companionship is healthy is not all that definitive. And for the elderly, having a dog and cat can be both stressful and dangerous.

Falls involving pets and their paraphernalia are an underappreciated health hazard. “Over 86,000 people per year have to go to the emergency room because of falls involving their dogs and cats, and these fractures can be devastating for the elderly,” said Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of a report on this peril.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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