The relationship between humans and dogs is nearly impossible to put into words. There’s an unspoken bond of love, empathy and understand that each seem to have for the other. Dogs, in particular, seem to have an innate ability to inspire calm and serenity in those around them.
For many seniors, this is especially true when they find that bond with a caring dog. Dogs can have an incredible impact on feelings of depression and loneliness, which can be among some of the most common feelings seniors experience.
They can quickly become an indispensable member of the household, because their presence inspires feelings of love and companionship. There are a number of ways that a dog can be a healing factor in the life of seniors.
When a pet is brought into the picture, focuses change from self to other. No longer do seniors focus on their own physical problems, like memory loss and aging. They can redirect the focus of their attention to positive things that come with dog ownership.
Pet blogger at Ox Essays and Big Assignments, Caleb Dorsch explains, “It’s been demonstrated that memory loss can actually start to be reversed simply with animal interaction.”
Disabilities Or Limitations
When it comes to dogs, they will never judge you based on your abilities or any other physical trait you possess. It’s a pure form of unconditional love. But, when we are trying to reciprocate that love, we want to find a good match that we can meet the needs of.
There are some dogs who thrive on activity and exercise, while others bask in cuddles and couch time. Matching the needs of the dog with the ability of the person can hugely impact the lives of both.
What Age Is Best?
Just like humans, a dog’s behavior can drastically change based on their age. Activity level and temperament of a dog can be greatly impacted by their age, so it’s important to keep that in mind when looking at dog companionship for a senior.
A puppy may seem like a wonderful addition, but the high level of activity may not necessarily be suited for a mobility-limited senior. Not only do different ages of dogs behave differently, but different breeds have their own attributes that need to be taken into account.
How Many Is Too Many?
For animal lovers, it’s hard to say no to the next set of adorable puppy eyes that gaze up at you. But it’s always important to remember the limit – what is the maximum number of pets someone can properly care for, before things get out of control?
This answer will be different for each person, and it in no way reflects on their intentions for wanting to love and care for animals.
Remember that, even though you may want to take in every animal in sight, if you are not properly able to care for those animals, you’re not doing them or yourself any favors.
You can also look at this issue from a financial perspective. Although you may want to adopt all dozen dogs in the shelter, there is a financial limit to what someone can afford in order to properly care for the dogs.
The cost of keeping them healthy and well cared for needs to be factored in.
Worst Case Scenario
As awful as it is to think about, a plan needs to be in place if the unfortunate happens and a senior passes away, but leaves their pets to be cared for. The responsibility of caring for any pets needs to be addressed.
Of course, no one wants to think about this, but these are harsh realities that need to be faced. “Adding a dog to a person’s life is a wonderful idea, but there needs to be a plan in place, especially when that person is elderly.
If something were ever to happen, it needs to be clearly understood what is to happen,” Rebecca Castro, lifestyle writer at Academized and Paper Fellows outlines.
The addition of a dog into the life of a senior can be a wonderful thing, and a true blessing for both human and dog. Keep in mind these factors that need to be addressed, in order to ensure the most beneficial and fruitful relationship can be created.
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Nora Mork is a health and lifestyle journalist at UK Writings and Boom Essays. She speaks at niche events and writes posts for blogs and online magazines, such as Essay Roo.