Successful senior living often means adapting to new challenges that make the senior feel isolated or depressed. Conditions like Alzheimer’s Diseases, hearing and vision deficiencies or chronic illnesses are intimidating.
Many seniors find that a pet dog makes sense as defense against depression and isolation and provide unexpected companionship during tough times. Recently, AARP discussed the merits of a pet dog, not a service dog, for seniors suffering hearing loss.
Pet dogs offer many benefits, including being reliable companions and pals, that many seniors find helpful on physical and emotional fronts. When we consider the natural advantages of a loyal, well-trained dog, we immediately see a friend who needs us as much as we need them.
Dogs are sensitive to human expressions, pitch, tone and moods. As such, they have a very calming effect on most seniors. Dogs do not question our decisions. They simply want to know they are loved, will receive healthy meals and get their exercise. A friendly show of affection every now and then comes back many times over.
Sure, there’s some expense and yes even a little maintenance but when all is said and done, it’s a fair price for the return dogs provide. Regardless of the challenge a senior loved one might be battling, you can be certain that they worry about isolation every day.
Walk With Me
Knowing how important mobility is to all seniors, the discipline of exercising Fido provides a commitment to walk that cannot be overlooked. But, walking the dog leads to other benefits such as increased sociability.
Dog lovers stick together. It is not an age thing, it’s a pet thing. A surefire way to meet new people is to walk with your dog. For the hearing impaired or for Alzheimer’s sufferers, dogs help us meet new friends by providing a common and affectionate connection.
So, by walking with their dog, seniors lower their blood pressure and cholesterol and find new energy. You can feel the stress and anxiety leaving the body and being replaced by the love of that affectionate pooch who awaits your every word. What a change!
Studies from the National Institute of Health report that dog owners get much more exercise than non-pet owners. And, being outside in wondrous fresh air carries its own positive benefits. What are you waiting for?
AARP Says Dogs Can Increase Life Span
AARP acknowledges the social and fitness benefits associated with owning and caring for a dog but places a heavy emphasis on the fact that dog owners are at lower risk of heart attack than non-dog owners. Dogs can also boost the owner’s long-term survival rate.
But, the biggest advantage of a dog is probably the increase in the senior’s quality of life. Many owners find a new purpose in owning and caring for a dog. Dog ownership means responsibility. The owners must feed, clean and provide medical care when necessary. But, much like the benefits of a hobby seniors tend to want the responsibility, especially when they see the care is affectionately returned with a subtle nuzzle.
New research shows that MRI scans proved that canine brains respond to human voices and sounds. When seniors are happy or sad, the dog knows and wants to engage. Many patients with chronic illnesses say their dog never leaves their side until they are back on their feet. That’s the loyalty many seniors want to experience.
Dogs are the only pets that actually scan the left side of the face where humans reflect their emotions. Dog owners often wonder how dogs seem to know what they are thinking. The answer is simple; your dog learns to read your expressions.
Dogs also have very acute warning systems. They seem to understand when there is danger, another reason to walk with your puppy. And, trained dogs always know the route home. That can be very comforting to caregivers. If you believe you can care for the pet, consider a dog, truly the best friend of many seniors.