National Pet Month is here, which makes now the best time to reflect on how valuable our beloved pets really are! This month, we’re focussing on the amazing work that dogs can do for the elderly. From providing well-needed companionship to looking out for those who have health conditions, dogs are a fantastic addition to any elderly person’s household and can provide life changing benefits to their owners. Here’s exactly how furry friends can improve the lives of the elderly and the ways you can care for a dog during old age.
How can dogs improve the lives of the elderly?
Owning a dog comes with a range of benefits that can completely change the lives of elderly people in the UK. Most of the time, a person’s pet becomes their most trusted companion and can provide snippets of happiness during hard times. There are many ways that dogs can improve the lives of their elderly owners. Here are a few examples!
One of the biggest struggles faced by elderly people is the challenge of feeling lonely during later life. In fact, Age UK reports that over 1.4 million elderly people suffer from loneliness in the UK. Loneliness occurs during old age when friends, loved ones and partners sadly pass away. As well as this, the side effects of ageing can make it difficult for the elderly to socialise and connect with others.
Dogs provide that companionship to those who struggle to socialise with people. For many elderly people, staying at home makes it difficult to stay in touch with friends and family. Having a dog in the home means that these people will have a ‘friend’ by their side, even if they live alone. Dogs become part of the family and are an excellent way to reduce feelings of loneliness throughout old age.
Looking after a dog could help to reduce the onset of cognitive illnesses such as Dementia. This is because the act of caring for a furry friend can strengthen memory and other cognitive abilities. As a result, those who own a pet are less likely to suffer from cognitive issues that could cause problems in the future.
Furthermore, dog ownership can encourage elderly people to stay active during their old age. Owning a dog requires the owner to take daily walks and spend time in the garden. Staying active during old age helps to maintain good health and can minimise the risk of developing serious health conditions during later life.
Improving mental health
Studies show that owning a dog comes with excellent mental health benefits. These include improving self-confidence, reducing anxiety and stress, boosting mood, and adding structure to your day.
Therefore, owning a dog can be a great way to maintain good mental health during old age. Positive mental health has been associated with longevity and better life outcomes for the elderly!
How to look after a dog during old age
Some elderly people may find it difficult to look after their beloved dog as they approach later life. Luckily, there are a number of excellent services that offer quality homecare for you and your pet.
These services make it possible for the elderly to keep their companions during old age and can improve the lives of both dog owners and the dogs themselves. Pet home carers can assist elderly people with walking, feeding, and caring for their dogs. They are also able to run errands such as visiting the pet store or taking their dog to the vets. This can be incredibly helpful for owners who are no longer able to carry out these everyday tasks.
Dog owners can choose how much support they receive from home pet carers. Furthermore, owners can opt out of services if they become well enough to look after their own dog themselves again.
Dogs are a long-term commitment
The most important aspect of owning a dog and taking care of them, is recognising that they are a long-term commitment. Dogs require constant exercise, good living conditions, regular feeding, and opportunities to socialise with other animals. While most dogs are perfectly happy to spend time inside with their owner, it is also important that dogs are given fresh air and a change of scenery every now and then.
If you are unable to provide your dog with everything they need, pet carers could help! Being elderly doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to your furry friend. With enough help and support, owning a dog during your later years could be the answer to reducing loneliness and boosting morale! So, let’s celebrate these gorgeous animals during National Pet Month in April 2022!