When older people begin moving into the next phase of their lives, many can find the transition to be exceptionally taxing and lonesome. Without the regularity of consistent work, the hours in the day can become a drag. Whilst some enjoy the freedom of retirement, others might struggle with the lack of structure in their day to day life.
For those who struggle with retiring, they can be more vulnerable to physical and mental illnesses. Pets can make a big difference in having a better retirement experience. Dogs, in particular, provide constant companionship which encourages both physical and mental health and in turn results in a better retirement experience overall. Studies show that more than 40% of elderly people experience loneliness on a regular basis which is correlated to worse health conditions, including poor sleep, higher stress levels and increased inflammation. Encouraging the elderly to adopt pets or granting more access to therapy animals to just visit for the day can help counter these problems and help them cope with physical or emotional issues.
Here are some reasons why dogs are great for the elderly:
Dogs keep their owners active
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and their personalities vary just as much. Some may be a little louder and more active than others depending on the breed. However, they are inherently active beings and to ensure they are cared for appropriately owners have to exercise them. Whilst the exercise is essential for the dog’s general well being, it also encourages the owner to be active.
“Simple interactions with a dog can contribute to the elderly’s daily exercise needs.”
As people age, physical fitness becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Elderly people are encouraged to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (eg. brisk walking) every week which translates to roughly 30 minutes or more on most days of the week. With a pet, simple interactions can contribute to their daily exercise needs, and they inherently become more active and healthy.
Dogs help their owners be more social
Many elderly people find that they may not have many opportunities to interact and communicate with others during the day, and it’s a sad but real truth. This issue can be reduced drastically when they own a pet. As owners grow closer to their dogs, most realise that they can be great listeners and that it isn’t uncommon to speak to your pets at home.
Dogs also help promote communication with other people as they are great conversation starters on walks out to the shops or in the park. It really helps the elderly have easy and meaningful ways to speak with people who would otherwise have ignored them. Owners can engage in light and easy chats whilst the dog gets friendly pats.
Dogs help ease emotional stress
As people get older, many find themselves plagued with loneliness as they start losing close friends and family that they’ve had by their side for the better part of their life. This really affects seniors as people have a strong need for emotional companionship and becomes challenging to come by as you age. However, dogs aren’t nicknamed a “man’s best friend” for nothing!
“The unconditional love of dogs to their owners gives them a sense of stability and purpose.”
Dogs are incredibly loyal to their owners, and the companionship they bring goes a long way in helping alleviate feelings of emotional distress. The unconditional love of dogs to their owners gives them a sense of stability and purpose. They are never truly alone with a dog.
Dogs help owners maintain a routine
It is crucial whilst transitioning into retirement, for elderly people to have structure to their days. The risk of depression increases drastically when someone has no sense of purpose. When people retire, they no longer do the things they once did or have a routine like before when they were working, and this can also lead to a decline in their cognitive abilities when they have nothing meaningful to do. Needing to feed, walk, groom and play with their dog helps fill the empty hours and keep their mind sharp and focused.
Elderly people can gain many benefits from owning a dog. They can transform the lives of their owner and help in instances where people may be struggling, be it physically or mentally. By owning a dog, a sense of responsibility is present and allows owners to maintain a purpose in their life.
If your dog is sometimes troublesome or you need some additional help training them, a quality, well-calibrated dog training e-collar is an excellent and safe tool to ensure living and connecting with your dog remains a stress-free experience. Dog Gear offers trusted electronic dog training collars, utilising warning tones to prompt your pup safely. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips