Over 12 million people over the age of 65 in the United States live alone. This is a staggering and heart-breaking statistic. Considering loneliness is a key player in mental health problems, it’s vital we do our part to ensure our aging population is looked after. Human companionship isn’t always the answer. As a wise man once said:
a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself
If you have aging parents or family members who live alone, contemplate buying them a dog. Considered man’s best friend for a reason, a dog can change an aging person’s entire outlook on life. They now have something that needs them, relies on them, and can provide them with affection. Not all dogs require lots of exercise or are filled with energy either.
Below are five dog breeds that are perfect for the elderly.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Not only are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels gorgeous dogs, they are also content to be lap dogs as well. They are small in size – yet larger than a house cat – and feature floppy ears to give them a beautiful face anyone will love. They are also exceptionally lazy, love to sleep, and snore the house down! If ever there was a perfect dog breed for your aging family member, a spaniel would be it.
Maltese dogs are very popular all around the world. They don’t require much exercise, are content to be lap dogs, and are manageable due to their size. In fact, lined up against a house cat, they are around the same stature. However, they do require regular grooming and are quite energetic when they’re young.
Note – If you are in the Philadelphia area and seen a missing Maltese mix around city center please contact the appropriate individuals here.
Similar to a Maltese in appearance and character, a Bichon Frise is a good option for an aging family member. They are small, are of a manageable size, and will make a great companion on the bed at night, and the couch during the day. They do need regular grooming and love to go for walks, but this could very well be the motivation your aging family member needs to get out of the house.
As odd as it sounds, a greyhound makes a very good pet for an elderly person – that is, of course, when they’ve finished on the race track. Retired racing greyhounds are always looking for new homes, and yours could be it. They love nothing more than lounging around on the couch all day, will happily wear a jacket to stay warm, and like the occasional walk. They also don’t require any grooming.
If you’re looking for a dog that has ‘Rottweiler syndrome’ and will constantly provide you with laughs, a chihuahua is a good option. They are easy to care for, bathe and walk, and do love to snuggle up on the couch with their owners. Many are fond of barking at passers-by, but this can also be a good form of protection and a deterrent against would-be burglars.