It is safe to say that almost all of us have heard the saying “seeing is believing”. This is true in most cases, but there are still some instances wherein sight alone can lead people astray and not really provide them with true or sufficient information. That being said, service dogs for seniors or even pets for loved ones in retirement communities are just one of those things that you have to see for yourself.
If you are interested in getting a service dog for your senior loved one, you may be wondering what benefits they will gain from this kind of assistance. The simple answer is that a senior dog companion gives multiple benefits to the person toting them around. But before we talk about what these benefits are, let’s find out more about these amazing dogs.
What Are Service Dogs?
In short, they are amazing animals who are exceptionally well trained. They help their handlers by providing personal care and guidance related to their disability, like the inability to see or hear; they perform specific tasks, like pressing an elevator button or a sweeping motion to gather things off the floor; and can sense when their handler is about to have a medical emergency and need help getting to the hospital in time.
Many people probably don’t know about service dogs because these animals actually have to undergo a long, expensive, and extremely rigorous training before they are even allowed to accompany the person they will ultimately help. The training process is intense and lasts from six to 18 months. Each dog has to be individually trained, focusing on his or her ability to help people with disabilities.
Criteria for Selecting the Best Service Dogs
- Temperament:The proper temperament requirements for a senior dog are willing to please and be trained and be confident in themselves around other dogs and people. Having the correct temperament is a must.
- Social:If you are looking for a service dog for your aging loved ones, socialization is one of your top priorities. A well-socialized dog can behave better in public places than one who hasn’t. A well-socialized dog will be able to sit calmly by its owner’s side at restaurants or stores instead of being hyper or barking at others. Additionally, a well-socialized dog is more likely to stay calm if confronted by other animals or people outside their family.
- Adaptability:This dog must be able to adapt to a changing situation. There is no specific age limit, but it needs to be mature enough to handle any new situations in order to protect the owner. A general understanding of basic commands is necessary.
How Do Service Dogs Help the Elderly?
- Guide Dog:Service dogs, particularly guide dogs, help people with limited mobility navigate their daily lives. If you’re over 65 and living with diabetes or heart disease, arthritis, or some other debilitating condition that keeps you from getting around like you used to, a service dog might be just what you need to maintain an independent lifestyle.
- Hearing Dog:A hearing dog is trained to alert its owner to important sounds, like a doorbell or telephone. These dogs are especially helpful for people who live alone and have difficulty hearing certain sounds because of background noise or hearing loss.
- Mobility Assistance Dog: Service dogs, also known as mobility assistance dogs, are trained to help their handlers with everyday tasks, such as picking up dropped items, getting a door open, or providing stability. Aging adults often benefit from having a service dog at home to provide companionship and help them perform daily activities.