Have you ever imagined living all by yourself during the golden years of your life? – Without a doubt, it is exactly as depressing as it sounds. Agedness can bring about a lot of changes in a person’s life. These changes are inevitable and the only thing that you can do is try to live a better life alongside all these alterations. While this may not sound easy, however, it is not impossible to achieve.
Research over the years has shown that old people stay happier when they have a furry companion around them. On the other hand, old people who do not own a pet, tend to be lonelier, depressed and the standard of their living gradually declines.
Benefits of Having a Pet for an Elderly Person
Living alone can be quite depressing and lonely during the autumn of your life. Even though your body gives up, the will to stay healthy and happy is all you need to turn the tables. Hence having a pet dog or any other animal at home, can bring a much-needed change to your life. These furry friends can lift up your mood and bring a huge smile to your face even on a sad and gloomy day. The amount of love and care they can give you is more than enough to let you spend a lifetime in their presence.
- Staying Fit
Having a dog means that you will have to go out for walks every day to keep your pup healthy. However, this will also help elderly people with high cholesterol levels in their bodies. Walking every day will allow their body to function properly which means there will be fewer visits to the hospital.
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- Being Active
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Taking them out for walks every day will allow seniors to meet new people on the streets or give them an opportunity to get to know the people living in the neighborhood. This will help them to build relationships with your neighbors and leave their pup with them in case they need to be in the hospital or for any other emergency. The pup will also be able to make new friends and play with them when their owners are tired. They may also have sudden visits from them which will keep them in a new company from time to time and give them the opportunity to make new friends.
- Stress reducing hormones
Studies show that petting a dog releases hormones that will relax you during anxiety or sadness. This will help older people to relax and stay calm when they are worried or stressed out.
- Reducing Blood Pressure
Petting dogs also helps to reduce blood pressure in people who suffer from high blood pressure. It also helps them to have a steady and normal heart rate.
- Feeling Safe
Adopting guard dogs or specially trained dogs is more helpful for older people. They can guard your home and keep you safe at all times. Trained dogs can also help you with your chores like carrying a bag etc.
Since the last seven years, a lot of organizations have begun working to help out these elderly people who are lonely and in need of a furry friend. Organizations like Dogway and Senior Dogs 4 Seniors have come a long way trying to help these people find their perfect furry match.
Finding the Perfect Duo
It is necessary to have a lot of options open while adopting a dog for an elderly person. Many organizations hold various programs throughout the year to let old people adopt dogs that they feel comfortable with. These organizations usually run on charity and hence end up paying most of the adoption fees for people who are unable to afford it. You can also get your money back in full payment if you are not being able to adjust with the dog after taking it home.
Finding the right match may take a while but it is absolutely worth the wait once you find the right one! However, you should make sure that you are aware of the points stated below before welcoming a furry companion into the family.
If the owner is limited to regular movements, it will be best for him/her to adopt smaller creatures like birds, turtles, or cats. Having a dog at home usually requires you to go for regular walks and chores like bathing, cleaning, frequent visits to the vets etc. Hence if the person has trouble moving, adopting a dog will not be a good option.
Having a dog can change your life in ways you can never imagine. (good mostly) However, if your old man/woman in the family is not okay with changes in his/her daily routine, adoption is not a good idea as it brings about a lot of changes.
- The right age
Elderly people are better suited to older dogs than the younger ones. Pups are usually more energetic and require a lot of training before you can hand it over to an aging person. Puppies also need to be vaccinated more frequently and you may have to run to the vet several times in a month. Hence older dogs are more suitable as they are already trained and need less attention than small pups.
- Therapeutic dogs
Therapeutic dogs are for people who are in the winter of their life. They provide great emotional and physical support for their owners at all times. These trained dogs are life-changing and can be a very useful and loving addition to the family.
- Unhealthy pups
Medical examination before adopting a pup is usually a smart move because you may not be aware of the dog’s health conditions. A lot of them often carry diseases that you may not know of and this may put the owner’s health in risk as well. This will also help them emotionally if you think of the long run.
- More than one pet
Having more than one pet at home means that they can keep each other company when you are unavailable. However, it is not the best option for elders as this will mean more responsibility and work that they may not be able to handle.
- Financial issues
Having financial support while adopting a dog is equally important because you will need to feed them and take them to the vets from time to time. So if he/she is unable to afford the cost, it will be wise to have other pet animals like birds or fishes in the aquarium.
Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
You can never make the same or different breeds of animals fall under the same category according to their behavior or personality traits. Every animal has its own individuality and you won’t know which one to choose unless you make some time to meet them in person. The same rule applies to dogs as well. For example, even though German shepherds are known to be a more energetic and active dog breed which is why a lot of seniors often feel more comfortable or safe around them.
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However, there are a few dog breeds that you can keep in mind while adopting a dog for the elderly. Pugs are the best when it comes to adopting less active furry companions. But you may have to take them out for walks or exercise on a regular basis. They are very friendly and always in a mood to spend some cozy time with their owner in complete silence.
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Other than pugs, you can look for Yorkshire terriers, Maltese, Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Beagle, Spaniel, Poodles, and Boston terriers, etc. These dog breeds are usually calm, compassionate and can be a perfect match for elderly people to spend their golden years with.
Dogs are loving and charming creatures. They will love you unconditionally and be by your side when you are going through the loneliest days of your life. Hence they are the safest companion for aged people who are in their golden years. Owning trained pet dogs will help them to have a good time regardless of being sick or having a tiring day.
- Helen Anne Travis, 7 Ways Having A Pet Keeps You Young, PetMD