Elderly people are at risk of being lonely, and can suffer from social isolation. It is more difficult for them to get around to meet up with people, they may be unemployed, often have restricted finances, health considerations, and many friends begin to pass away. This can be quite difficult for the elderly. Is there a solution?  While there may not be a steadfast solution to all the obstacles that seniors deal with, owning a dog can provide much needed friendship and companionship.

Rocky and Ben. RIP Ben. You will be missed.

Rocky and Ben. RIP Ben. You will be missed.

A pet is not only a friend or loyal companion, but is also a beloved member of the family. A dog may help ease loneliness by offering much needed social contact. Dogs also add a new role which thereby adds more meaning to one’s life. There is often a gap following retirement or after children move out. This absence can make it hard to be motivated. A dog not only encourages the owner to keep a routine, but is a motivator to get up in the morning. A dog can increase self worth and remind a person of their value and meaning in this life.

The relationship between dog and human can be beneficial to more people than just the owner. The constant social interaction between owner and pet can help the owner to be more social, more nurturing, and independent in other social situations. As a result, Dog owners often have increased health and well-being.

Some seniors would benefit more from service dogs than companion dogs. In some countries there are dogs trained for seniors with dementia. They are especially beneficial for seniors who are hearing or visually impaired. There are walker dogs that are particularly trained to support their handler maintain a better sense of balance; and mobility dogs who help in daily tasks such as fetching necessary items, open doors, and pull a wheelchair when needed.

When choosing a dog for the elderly, there are many things to take into consideration. These include grooming, energy levels and exercise needed, how the dog will interact with others, and who will take care of the pup if illness should strike. If you are able to address each of these considerations appropriately, feel free to move forward.

Dogs, whether they are companion or service, can be very beneficial for seniors on multiple levels. They can add protection, help, and necessary camaraderie.