Older adults who live alone can sometimes be lonely. While elderly care is an excellent way to prevent loneliness, it’s nice for your aging parent to have companionship when they don’t have another person around. Pets can be an excellent way to reduce loneliness in seniors since they offer unconditional love and friendship. While there are many kinds of pets that can be excellent for seniors, lots of people identify themselves as “dog people.” If your parent likes dogs, adopting a senior dog might be an excellent way of ensuring they never feel alone.
How a Dog Can Improve Your Parent’s Health
In addition to companionship, there are many other reasons for older adults to have a dog. Dogs offer several health benefits to their owners, such as:
Multiple studies show that when people play with dogs or simply spend some time petting a dog, their heart rate slows and blood pressure drops, indicating they are feeling more relaxed. Levels of stress hormones also drop.
In a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers reported that among a participant group of 369 people who had had a heart attack, those that had a pet had a better survival rate a year later than did those who didn’t have a pet.
People with dogs tend to be more fit than those without dogs. That’s because they are usually more physically active. Taking a dog for walks, even short ones increases the amount of time the owner spends moving around. Playing with a dog, like throwing a ball, also counts as physical activity.
Why a Senior Dog Might Be the Right Choice
When it comes to older adults, senior dogs are often a better choice than puppies or young dogs. One reason for this is that senior dogs tend to be less active, so their energy levels are a better match for an elderly person. And, because a dog is a lifelong commitment, choosing a pet whose remaining lifespan is shorter can mean the pet is less likely to be left without a home should your parent pass. Finally, when your parent adopts a senior dog, they are saving a life. Puppies and young dogs are in higher demand, leaving senior dogs to be overlooked and more likely to be euthanized.
If your concern about your parent’s ability to take care of a dog is stopping you from helping them adopt one, elderly care can relieve some of those fears. In addition to caring for your parents, an elderly care provider can help them to care for a dog. Elderly care providers can assist with things like feeding and watering the dog. An elderly care provider can also drive your parents to the store to purchase dog food and take them and their dog to the veterinarian for appointments.