Life is not easy for the elderly who live on their own or in assisted living facilities. They are full of experience and wisdom, but they hardly have an active social life. Since they are not as strong as they used to be, they may not have the energy to go out and meet other folks. In many cases, they end up spending the rest of their days looking forward to visits from their children and grandchildren just to be able to talk to someone. Life can get quite lonely for them. Luckily, we have loving, energetic buddies in this world known as dogs. They are a beacon of light, who can fill anyone’s life with positive energy. They benefit the elderly in multiple ways and can completely change their lives.
1. They Make Great Companions
Some elderly folks may have lost their spouse and their children may hardly come to visit. For them, every day is a battle against loneliness. Dogs make a great companion for such people, allowing them to share their thoughts and giving them a chance to feel love and friendship.
2. They Boost Mood
Who would not be happy having a companion who resonates positivity and joy? Dogs have the ability to reduce the stress hormone called cortisol and increase the level of happy hormones called serotonin. Dogs instinctively know who need their love and can comfort senior citizens who are frightened of undergoing a surgery, for instance.
3. They Give Relief From Mental Conditions
As people age, their mental health takes a toll and many will be suffering from various mental conditions like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Puppies are great at calming down people with dementia, who have bouts of agitation. Since spending time with dogs takes a bit of energy, it can help stimulate the appetite of senior citizens who do not eat well due to their mental conditions.
4. They Help The Elderly Stay Active
The elderly usually like to rest and may not be too keen on being active. Dogs help stimulate these folks to be more active than they currently are. The energy they spend playing with the dog or walking it serves as a great form of exercise. If they have arthritis in the hands and arms, petting dogs is a good workout.
5. They Sharpen The Mind
A bit of knowledge is required when taking care of dogs. Reading and learning about different breeds, learning grooming techniques, and talking to others about dogs stimulates the mind of senior folks. It helps them stay mentally active and sharpens their mind to quite an extent.
6. They Improve Heart Health
Interacting with dogs takes energy and acts as a light form of cardio. It improves the heart condition of those who are suffering from heart problems. According to research, it can also help prevent heart disease.
7. They Provide Protection
Elderly folks do not have much strength to defend themselves from attacks, which makes them vulnerable targets for burglary, especially if they stay alone without a caretaker by their side. A dog can come in handy in such situations. They are loyal and will try their best to protect their owner. Even if the dog is not big and ferocious, it can bark and raise an alarm, giving folks time to call for help.
8. They Help The Elderly Socialize
In communities where elderly people face isolation and are lonely, taking care of a dog can act as a form of social activity. Senior folks can meet other folks when taking their dogs out for a walk or they can help take care of local dogs. They make good friends in the process, which is much better than sitting at home and feeling lonely.
If you want to help the loving elderly folks of your community, you can volunteer your dog to help them as bringing a smile to their faces is one of the greatest joys you can feel. You can also volunteer yourself to help find homes for dogs who outlive their owners.