Dogs Protect the Elderly From Loneliness

Inconsolable crying I observed, as she laid on a lonely hospital bed. My heart, my mind, my soul, not sure which one was struggling the most to keep tears back. Only 75 years old and her loneliness overpowered her reasoning and judgment. Few tablets, that’s all it took to make everything disappear. That was her plan! She had no hope no escape! No one to turn to. No family, no friends, not even a neighbour that cared. The hospital did everything they could to help, even made referrals to other supportive agencies. She had no prior diagnosis of mental illness. But still more needs to be done! As she woke in the morning after her overdose, she was shock! Her face wrinkled in anger- her plan didn’t work. She stated how disappointed she was that she didn’t die. Loneliness exists! What was her life like before I’m not sure. But this was her end of the road, she thought.

 

A large body of research has reported an association between the pet ownership and benefits on the elderly. Who can deny that a man’s best friend is such great company to kids, singles, couples, families and in this case our older adults. In our experience human-animal bond for the aged is therapeutic! More attention needs to be paid to them. A lot is been done but some of them are falling through the gaps.

 

Loneliness! Who would ever think we are born to end up lonely. We enjoy family time now, we invest in family time now and we live with our family. Many elderly used to have a family but now they don’t. Some are shy to bother anyone for company . Some are introverts and prefer to be without other people. But research has discovered that they don’t mind a pet specifically a dog.

 

One of the reasons our RuffnRoll team is so dedicated is because our team believes our dogs have a therapeutic effect on people and they do. Walk on the sidewalk and expect a bystander to smile and get all excited and tell you how beautiful your dog is and to, “please let me pat him/her.”

 

A research done by Taylor & Francis in 2015 discovered that, “emotional issues have the potential to be mitigated by companionship of pets because it reduces social isolation. “

Furthermore, Gee, N.R et.al (2017) research found that, “Human–animal interaction may provide social support for older adults, thus reducing the risk of loneliness.” Moreover, “older pet owners have been found to be less likely to report loneliness. Pets may act as catalysts for human social interactions thereby fostering a sense of community.”

 

“I’m so lonely no one has time for me. But she smiled as I patted her hair. “

 

Alejandra Lopez B.N. Western Sydney University, MA Management (Nurs) Newcastle University

 

References
 

Gee NR, Mueller MK and Curl AL (2017) Human–Animal Interaction and Older Adults: An Overview. Front. Psychol. 8:1416. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01416
 

Taylor & Francis. (2015, June 23). Pet ownership and its potential benefits for older adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 9, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150623141736.htm