As we age, we experience the painful reality of the empty nest. Children leave and start families of their own, and the grandchildren also start to grow up, and their visits become more and more infrequent. During this period, it can be important for elderly people to have a source of unconditional love and affection. Although a dog can by no means replace the affection of a family, pets can have immense benefits for the elderly. Here are 15 ways in which dogs can add value to your home.
15. They relieve stress
People who own pets are less likely to experience stress than those who don’t. It could be those purposeful evening walks or the fact that you have conditional love to support you when you encounter life’s challenges. Regardless, having a four-legged friend by your side can help you to maintain a positive outlook and face whatever life throughs at you with a smile on your face.
14. They protect you
The presence of a dog in your home can act as a major deterrent to potential thieves. Think about putting up a sign that says “Beware of the dog” for extra security. Who needs an alarm system when you got a dog? A barking dog can be enough to put off any would-be burglar, even if the dog itself is more of a lover, not a fighter… The individual contemplating entering your home doesn’t know that!
13. They can provide relief for mental conditions
Dogs can be a particular asset for people who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. People with dementia often experience phases of agitation, and dogs can help to keep them calm. Interacting with a pup can also help to increase the appetite of people who may not eat regularly due to their medical condition.
12. They are a source of companionship
Many elderly people suffer from loneliness, and this can evolve into depression and other issues. Dogs are there for you no matter what. They love their owners unconditionally and are always ready to greet you with a wagging tail and a joyful demeanour. A smaller dog, in particular, will stick rigidly by your side.
11. They can boost your mind
Being in the presence of a dog can decrease the cortisol stress hormone and increase the happy serotonin hormone. Dogs have an innate ability to detect the feelings of others. They will be by your side through thick and thin ready to comfort you when you are feeling worried or sad.
10. Senior pups can be perfect for senior citizens
If you are contemplating getting a dog, you may wish to consider getting a senior dog from a rescue center. These dogs are often shunned in favor of puppies, but they have just as much love and affection to give. What’s more, like you, they may be slowing down in their older years and, as such, will not need as much walking and high-intensity exercise.
9. They give you reason to exercise
When you contemplate exercising with a pet, you may imagine running or playing. This is not possible for many members of the aged population. However, even the basic actions associated with looking after a dog can be a source of exercise. For example, brushing and petting an animal can help to relieve the symptoms of arthritis and improve muscle tone. If the owner is able to walk the dog, doing so will help him or her to get out of the house, enjoy fresh air, and get some much-needed exercise. Your life expectancy will thank you!
8. They give you a routine
Owning a pet can be a significant responsibility; however, it doesn’t need to be a chore. Once you establish a basic routine for looking after your companion, you will find that your life has purpose and meaning. For the first time in what may be a while, you will have a reason for getting up in the morning: you have a hungry hound who is desperate for his breakfast!
7. They sharpen your mind
Dogs keep you on your toes and keep the cogs in your head spinning. Mental stimulation has been associated with better living for senior citizens: dogs will stimulate you as much as you stimulate them! Whether you are learning how to take care of your pet or engaging in discussions with others about the latest exploits of your furry friend, you will benefit from ongoing mental stimulation.
6. They can help you discover new interests
Pet ownership can lead you to discover an array of new activities and interests. Perhaps you’ll discover new community activities that are taking place at your local park, meet other dog owners, or take part in volunteer activities.
5. They can help you improve the health of your heart
Owning an animal or interacting with a pet on a regular basis can help to stave off heart diseases! This information comes from research findings that were published by the American Heart Association. This seems like a win-win-win situation: you get to love a pet, your dog loves you, and you have lower risks or heart diseases. Yes, please!
4. They need taking care of
Your pet needs you just as much as you need them. Your innate desire to have meaning doesn’t suddenly evaporate when your children leave home. You will find taking care of your pup rewarding and self-fulfilling.
3. They can help others
If you like, you can even train your dog to help others. Many nursing homes seek therapy dogs that visit assisted living facilities on a regular basis to provide comfort and love to the residents. Or perhaps you know an elderly person in your community who would benefit from a visit from a wagging tail. There are multiple opportunities to share your dog’s love and affection with others.
2. They help you make new friends
Pet owners can be a very sociable lot, and there is a wealth of activities offered to people who have a canine companion. Whether you sign up for community walks or charity events, having a dog in your life will open the door to a whole new world of possibility.
1. They help you invest in life
Pet ownership involves committing yourself to care for the life of an animal. This commitment will give your life meaning and purpose and will prove to be one of the best decisions you have ever made.