Your dad lives alone. He’s talked about getting a dog. Are there any benefits beyond having a companion? The answer is yes. Being a dog owner actually brings more benefits than you might imagine.
Stress Levels Decline
When you own a dog, stress declines. Part of it is because you have to take that dog outside each day. Any dog needs to be walked and taken outside multiple times per day for potty breaks. That time in the fresh air, along with the exercise helps lower stress.
He’ll Get More Exercise
It’s recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. A 30-minute walk with a dog counts. If your dad doesn’t want to walk far, throwing a ball in the backyard for half an hour is also beneficial. He wants to do things that get him moving his arms and legs around.
Dogs Improve the Immune System
It’s hard to believe a dog that licks itself, rolls around in the mud, and likes to pick up dead things could help improve your dad’s immune system, but it can. By having a dog, your dad gets exposed to different bacteria. Those bacteria get into bedding, carpets, and upholstery. Prolonged exposure to the variety of germs leads to your dad’s body building a stronger defense.
It Gives Him a Reason to Get Up
Depression doesn’t affect every older adult, but it does affect some. If your dad is showing signs of being depressed, a dog forces him to get out of bed and go outside. Having that routine may help. Plus, the dog is there to comfort him when he’s having a harder day.
Dogs Improve Socialization
If your dad walks his dog to the park, he’s bound to have people approach him wanting to pet the dog. He’s going to be socializing with moms and their kids, other dog owners, joggers, and bicyclists. All of that improves his socialization.
He Has Someone to Talk To
While his dog is unlikely to talk back, he does have a dog to talk to. He can use his dog to vent his frustrations by opening up and talking. The dog will listen, even if it can’t do more than wag its tail or tilt its head in response.
The other way to make sure your dad has someone to talk to is by setting up elder care. Elder care services provide your dad with the help he needs to age at home. That might mean companionship services to ensure he has someone to talk to or to provide company on walks. Discuss pricing and schedules by calling an elder care representative.