Pet Ownership and Social Wellness of Elderly

Andrea MM Chu, Yuk Fai Ben Fong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Elderlies are facing with problems not only limited to chronic diseases and functional disabilities, but also loneliness and feeling of isolation, and even rejection. For some older adults, especially those who have disabilities, their spouse and children are unable to take care of them. They may have to live in residential care homes for the elderly for the rest of their lives. This makes the elderly very unhappy and becoming more and more pessimistic. They may treat themselves as a burden to the family and society as they continue to age and degenerate. Pet ownership is known to help in promoting health and increasing the quality of life of older adults by calming the elderly, combating loneliness, providing companionship and unconditional love, encouraging mobility, providing a sense of purpose and making the elderly hosts feel safe. This review will discuss the physical and psychosocial benefits, as well as the potential harms and dangers of owning pets. Owning a pet is not only costly, but there is increased risk of fall injuries, risk of developing allergies and asthma, and risk of acquiring zoonotic diseases. Furthermore, losing a pet may cause huge emotional and psychological burden to the elderly. Collaborating service animals with community elderly services increases the physical and psychosocial health as well as the dignity of the older adults and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgeing with Dignity in Hong Kong and Asia
Subtitle of host publicationHolistic and Humanistic Care
EditorsVincent Law, Ben Fong
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-19-3061-4
ISBN (Print)978-981-19-3060-7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2022

Publication series

NameQuality of Life in Asia
ISSN (Print)2211-0550
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0569


  • Elderly
  • Pet ownership
  • Quality of life
  • Service animals


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