The benefits of owning a dog
It’s natural that, with age, people can grow lonely. They may lose contact with their friends, colleagues, or a part of the family and stay at home most of the time. However, people need contact, and it can be very difficult to live alone. For anyone who has found themselves in a similar situation, or who has an elderly relative in the same boat, there is a possible solution to deal with loneliness: a dog.
Dogs may not talk like humans, but they can be good company. Moreover, they can get owners out of the house, help them stay physically active, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase social interaction. While getting a pet is never a simple consideration – an animal is for life, not just until something more fun comes along – if owning a dog sounds like it might save the day, here is some information about the benefits, especially for seniors.
A sense of purpose
When a person is alone, it can be difficult to find meaning in life and stay positive. Having a dog can help the owner get on the right track and feel good about themselves. For example, for those stuck at home all day, a dog may provide interaction and entertainment, and therefore a happier experience. On top of that, for those who live in care, a caregiver helps with everyday activities, cleaning, and cooking, while a dog can lift the spirits and share genuine love and companionship.
A dog can be a good incentive to get out of the house and meet new people, which is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, dogs love to play, have fun together and share common interests. It’s an excellent opportunity to socialise with fellow dog owners or even make new friends.
When it comes to getting a dog for an older person, one of the biggest benefits is feeling safer when living alone. If someone enters the home, the dog will alert them and scare away intruders. Having a dog to protect elderly loved ones can be especially beneficial in rural areas as there are animals living nearby, as well as people, that could cause harm to an older person.
People suffering from stress and anxiety often find that getting a dog is very helpful. Experts say that dogs can relieve your stress by being around or by helping, for example, cleaning up messes around the house or playing with their care takers. They can also help when there are big problems or things to do that are hard to find the energy for. On top of that, they can help their owners focus on other things besides their stress and anxiety.
Lower blood pressure
Another great benefit of getting a dog for an elderly loved one is the possibility that it will lower their blood pressure. Having a dog in the house will make them happy and feel more relaxed as it lowers stress levels. Exercise is always of enormous benefit to cardiac health, and when it comes to blood pressure reduction, walking a dog in a park or around town is the best way to achieve it, as it takes place outside the house where there are many other people around as well. Besides that, dogs need regular grooming, which can be an additional way to fit in some gentle physical activity, as well as spend some quality time together. One of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to join an organised group that walks dogs regularly in the local area.
Help with depression
Dogs are very social creatures by nature, so having a dog makes it easier to connect with other people when it seems hard. Furthermore, for those who suffer from depression, having a dog is an excellent way to fight those depression symptoms as they provide the motivation to do mood-boosting activities each day, like walking their pet or playing with him. A therapy animal can also help them deal with depression simply by being around and providing unconditional love, regardless of what happens in their lives.
Having a dog means taking care of another creature, which helps owners feel needed and wanted by others again. Looking after pets can also encourage people to stay mentally active and engaged in life, feel happier, and be more confident about their actions. It can also help seniors to become independent again and take care of themselves.
Moreover, loved ones will feel they’re contributing something important to society that is beneficial for their self-esteem as well as their mental health in general. A senior’s health improves when they feel appreciated by others again. If they aren’t able to do it on their own, it can be worth looking into hiring a professional pet sitter who will take care of the pet when the owner is at work or doing other things like meeting friends, volunteering or resting, in order to give back without feeling overwhelmed with responsibility.
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