Many senior citizens find that owning a dog improves their lives. Having a canine companion has several benefits, some of them may be surprising for those involved with in-home senior care.
Dogs Are Excellent Companions for Older Adults
Pets, including dogs, can help senior citizens fight loneliness. They offer companionship, unconditional love, and a sense of usefulness. Because dogs naturally give affection and loyalty to their owner, senior citizens with dogs are never truly alone. They get comfort and friendship from their pet.
Dogs Help to Create a Routine for Senior Citizens
It’s easy for senior citizens who no longer need to be at work at a certain time or take care of a family to fall into habits like staying in bed late or sitting around all day in front of the television. Senior citizens who own a dog have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, especially when their four-legged-friend needs to go outside. Feeding, walking and playing with a dog also add structure to a senior citizen’s day.
Dogs need to be walked, and owning a dog gives a senior citizen a reason to go for a walk. Even a short walk around the block can be beneficial to an older person who would otherwise not get moving. Playing fetch becomes bending exercises when a senior plays with a dog. A light tug-of-war with a dog works the arm muscles.
Dog Ownership Can Reduce Depression in Senior Citizens
Studies have found that owning a dog can reduce depression in senior citizens. In fact, playing with a dog can boost serotonin and dopamine levels, which are both natural mood enhancers. Dogs can often pick up on their owner’s sadness and offer comfort, companionship, and love.
Owning a Dog Helps Senior Citizens be Sociable with Others
Dogs force senior citizens to get outside of the house, and when they are outside of the house, they have more opportunities to be sociable with other people. When they take walks, they have a chance to say hello to neighbors, meet other dog owners, and even interact with children who would like to pet their dog.
Seniors Who Own Dogs See Physical Benefits
The physical benefits that dog ownership offers senior citizens to go beyond getting exercise. Studies have found that pet ownership can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure for senior citizens. They have also found that seniors who own pets have 21 percent fewer visits to the doctors than those who don’t have a furry companion.
Adopting a Dog Gives a Senior Citizen a Chance to Help Another Living Thing
It’s often suggested that senior citizens adopt an adult dog because training a puppy can be more work than they can handle. It can be difficult for shelters to find owners for older dogs, and by adopting an older dog a senior citizen can help another older living thing. Some of the best dog breeds suggested for senior citizens are French Bulldogs, Beagles, Welsh Corgis, Greyhounds, and Boston Terriers.
About the Author
Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about things that can help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.
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