How Seniors Can Enjoy Retirement With Their Dog Companions
Dogs make incredible best friends for senior citizens, because they provide an invaluable form of love and companionship throughout the day. If you or a loved one is looking for something to keep you occupied in retirement, getting a dog is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so.
Dogs are an incredible part of senior living that makes the process of getting older more fun.
There are many ways for seniors to enjoy spending time with their dogs in retirement - here are some fun activities you can do together.
Explore Your Neighborhood
Dogs are the perfect motivation for seniors to get out and about. Not only is it good to get out of the house during retirement, but having a dog also ensures you will get the exercise you need.
Getting regular exercise helps keep seniors’ bones and muscles strong, and it also is good for weight loss and mental health as well.
Instead of just walking the same route every day, try taking time to really explore the area around you. You might be surprised by the beautiful spots you find when you take a route that’s slightly off the beaten path.
Visit Friends and Family
Everyone loves spending time with a dog, so don’t hesitate to bring your dog with you when you visit your family and friends.
Dogs are incredibly social animals, and having a dog can actually help you improve and maintain your own social connections as well.
Many seniors struggle to stay social once they reach retirement age, because they don’t have the natural camaraderie of coworkers anymore.
Use your dog as an excuse to visit some of your favorite people, and even as a way to make new friends too. When people stop to pet your dog, or you meet another dog owner out and about, it’s the perfect excuse to strike up a conversation.
Go to the Dog Park
Dogs need lots of interaction and play, and going to the dog park is a perfect way for them to get their energy out while socializing with other dogs.
The great thing about going to the dog park is that your furry friend can be off-leash, so they can roam freely without you worrying about them bolting away.
Dog parks are great resources for seniors, because you don’t have to expend too much energy chasing your dog around - instead, you can just let them roam as needed while monitoring them to make sure they stay safe.
Dog parks are also the perfect places to try new games with your favorite furry friend.
Having a dog around while you’re at home reading or watching TV makes the time you spend on your own a little less lonely.
When you’re cuddled up with your pet, you can have the perfect cozy evening to yourself, while still enjoying company and companionship.
The ideal dogs for seniors are dogs who are content to sit and be comfortable resting at your side or in your lap.
Middle-aged dogs are often the ideal temperament, because they’re still young enough to be healthy, but they’re old enough that they’ve calmed down a bit and won’t mind sitting and enjoying your company.
Having a dog around can also help seniors feel safe when they’re spending time alone.
Learn New Tricks
A fun way to stay occupied and learn a new skill in retirement is to teach your dog some exciting new tricks.
Once your dog has been trained on basic obedience skills, you can use their attention to teach them how to do things like shake hands, jump, and more.
If your dog has a lot of energy and coordination, you can even spend time outside on agility training.
Since many seniors struggle with finding a routine in retirement, teaching your dog new tricks is a great way to stay occupied.
It also provides a fun challenge and allows you to set and reach new goals.
Just because you’re now a senior doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy traveling, whether it’s just taking a short drive or going for a full weekend trip.
Traveling with dogs is very fun, because they provide companionship, can help you feel safe and comfortable, and make the trip more exciting.
With your dog by your side, you can feel comfortable exploring new areas and seeing sights you might not have on your own.
Dogs love spending time outdoors, so try searching for new outdoor destinations you can explore together.
For example, a gentle hike in the woods is a great way to exercise with your dog, or you can opt to go to the beach, where your dog can experience the water and sunshine.
Retirement is more fun and satisfying with dogs around, whether you’re enjoying retirement with a partner, independently, or even in an assisted living facility.
Many assisted living facilities are now beginning to offer dog friendly assisted living for their residents, so they can continue to enjoy the benefits of spending time with a dog, even while they’re receiving daily assistance or memory care services.
It’s been proven with research and experience that dogs are incredibly beneficial for seniors who are struggling with health problems, and that spending time with dogs can prevent them from getting lonely or even developing depression or anxiety.
When looking for a dog for a senior, be sure to search for one that doesn’t require excessive special care and that has an appropriate temperament for older adults.
If you already have a dog, focusing on them and spending more time with them is an easy way to make the transition into retirement more fun.
There are so many great activities you can do with your dog, and spending time with your dog helps keep you happy and healthy as well.
Be sure to look for retirement communities that allow dogs to ensure that you can keep spending time with your loved one, and that you have the appropriate assistance to care for your dog as needed.
About the Author: Holly Klamer is a Los Angeles based freelance writer. She covers health and lifestyle topics for a variety of online publications.