The news is in: Social isolation is one of the worst killers of people over 65. Social isolation is deadly because it can fly under the radar, undetected, until it leads to a more obvious problem. These obvious problems are often heart disease, dementia, and mental illness.
There are many things you can do to alleviate a senior’s loneliness, but introducing a dog into her life may be one of the most effective.
Dogs and seniors
Assuming a senior is still mentally sharp and able to walk a dog every day, a dog is great companionship. When discussing dog ownership with your beloved parent, consider your parent’s energy level, the amount of time he has for caring for a dog, and his temperament.
Does your parent want a lap-sitting dog? A dog that likes to fetch? A dog that will help guard the house? An intelligent dog? A dog that will get along with all visitors to the house?
Best dogs for seniors
Depending on the answers to the above questions, the following dogs might be perfect for your parent or grandparent:
- Standard poodles. Because of their high intelligence, standard poodles are relatively easy to train and accommodating. And you do NOT have to give them silly haircuts. Many poodle owners let their poodles’ fur grow out naturally. Poodles do require a trip to the groomer from time to time, however, because their fur gets matted. They do need some daily moderate exercise, so they’re great for seniors who want to walk every day.
- Corgis. Corgis are also great dogs for people who want and need to walk every day. They are not good with stairs, however, and should be avoided if you have a lot of stairs in and out of the house with no access ramps. If your mother or father intends to sleep with a corgi, he may need a small ramp up to the bed.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These are great lap sitters and need only moderate amounts of exercise. Plus the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is about the most gorgeous breed out there, with its big eyes that look straight out of an anime movie.
- Retired greyhounds. Now that the last race tracks are closing, there may be a good opportunity to obtain a retired greyhound. These dogs have run their races and want little more than to share a couch with their peeps. They do need a fenced yard for the occasional run or maybe a couple trips a week to the dog park. These dogs may be ideal for seniors who want a bigger dog as well as people who want a dog who doubles as a guard dog. The best guard dogs, of course, are big dogs who look imposing but would never bite anyone.
Senior dogs are a great value
In your search for a perfect dog for your senior, consider the older dog. Dogs of any breed that are eight or more years old will automatically be calmer and do less damage on furniture. They are often easier to walk while still offering the benefits of loyal companionship and affection.
Home care aides can help your parent live with a dog. With home care, even a disabled mother or father can care for a dog. Home care aides can accompany your parent on a walk with his dog or walk the dog alone, as needed. They can also keep tabs on the health of your parent’s dog and get him to the vet for routine and emergency care.
In conclusion, many older people benefit from having a companion animal. The dangers of social isolation are many, and a pet can allay the loneliness that often comes to elderly individuals who have outlived a spouse and several friends.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Sewickley PA, talk to the caring staff at Superior Home Care today. Call us at 412.754.2600