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At times, people overlook the presence of the elderly in the community. Some senior citizens live on their own or under living-assisted facilities while others are facing physical or mental impairment. Because of these, seniors tend to develop a sense of depression and isolation. This can be a lonely existence for them. And this is where our adorable, four-legged companions come in. Luckily, our dogs won’t just be there to give us a smile on our faces but can bring immeasurable value even during the later stages of our lives. Dubbed as “man’s best friend”, dogs offer incredible ways that are significantly beneficial to the lives of elderly people. So, let’s dig further on how dogs can be helpful to our senior citizens.
Old age is normally associated with physical or mental challenges which may result in stress and pain. Pets like dogs have a mood-enhancing benefit especially to people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Based on studies, being around with dogs and pets can exhibit a calming effect to the mind and body, thus reducing tension and stress. Getting away from the stress allows elderly people to focus on living in the moment rather than their problems. When an elderly individual spends more time with dogs, he or she becomes distracted from the physical pain or discomfort he or she is suffering.
Dogs are undoubtedly one of the best buddies we can have throughout life. They are known to be great companions and loyal creatures. As people age, many individuals tend to experience loneliness and isolation. It also lessens their chances for social interaction. Dogs, on the other hand, can be a source of strength to lessen that feeling of isolation. Companion dogs around them help reduce loneliness. Thus, seniors have more opportunities to communicate with their dogs or talk with other pet owners. Through dogs, it increases the likelihood of social interaction and making new friends along the way.
Older adults don’t have enough time to walk or deal with a lot of physical activities due to physiological changes in the body. However, it remains a requirement to get their body in good shape to lessen physical pain and discomfort because of aging. Having dogs allows them to engage in basic exercise and physical activities. They are incredible exercise partners who encourage you to get into a morning walk routine or stay active. A simple playtime with dogs improves locomotion and body movements. When senior citizens get involved with grooming or washing their dogs, it promotes regular physical activity. So, as an exercise partner, dogs need to be in good shape and physically active as well. Pet-owners, including elderly, should guarantee that dogs undergo routine vet visit, take all-organic supplements, and need to be prevented from diseases such as dog ear infection, insect-related infection and the likes.
Adding a sense of purpose and consistency
When an elderly is taking care of a dog, he or she realizes that there is an adorable creature depending on him or her. Your companion dog needs your presence, so he or she can eat, get into daily routine walking, or play around. Having a dog with you is an excellent reason to start your day and follow your regular activities. Thus, it instills a great sense of purpose and adds consistency in your daily lives. Being with dogs around can make your day more structured and manageable. Also, it gives you more meaning to life where you can look forward to something every day.
Mood-boosters and emotional support
There are studies reported that being with a dog increases the level of “happy hormones” or serotonin in our body. This is physiologically beneficial to senior citizens who suffer from anxiety and depression. Also, dogs seem to know and mirror their owner’s emotion, whether they are sad or happy. These lovely creatures can provide you comfort, and unconditional love more than other humans do. These great characteristics are helpful to elderly people whenever they feel anxious or alone. By communicating and playing with their dogs, it eases emotional tension and enhances their mood.
Senior citizens are usually a target of thieves and burglars. When you have alert companions at home like dogs, it may prevent potential crime or home invasion. A barking dog can deter a robber and keep you safe from harm. These dogs can ensure your protection and safety whenever you’re with them.
Learning new things
Owning a dog opens an opportunity for new activities and interests. When you engage with dog activities, you started to become involved with learning new things, teaching your dog a new trick or researching about animals and their behavior. It doesn’t only sharpen your mind or expand your knowledge, but it also gives you satisfaction and fulfillment even at the later stage of your life.
As people age, we normally tend to think about fulfillment and achievements—whether we have accomplished something in life or not. However, senior citizens need loyal, dependable, and non-judgmental companions more than anything else. At later stages of life, they still have to be active and find value or meaning in whatever they do. This is how dogs can be beneficial to the elderly. Dogs don’t just offer emotional support and unconditional love, but they also provide long-lasting memories and a strong sense of purpose for aging people.