Most of these activities cost very little and just take a little creativity. Always consider your own safety first and avoid falling or tripping. Dog ownership increases socialization.
When dog owners walk their dogs, the chance of social contacts increases. A walker with a dog is considered more approachable than someone without a dog. A dog provides an instant topic of conversation and people love to talk about their dogs, so a dog is an instant icebreaker. Dog ownership reduces loneliness.
You may know someone who got a dog to combat the empty nest syndrome when their children left home. A dog adds life and noise to a home that can be too quiet. A dog brings purpose and focus to each day, which is one reason dog owners have less depression, especially elderly women.
Loneliness contributes to cognitive decline in older adults. Having a dog is shown to increase serotonin and dopamine, the brain chemicals related to wellbeing. That’s why dog therapy programs in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are so successful. Dogs also ease tension between married couples and help calm Alzheimer’s patients.
The responsibilities of caring for a dog give an older person a sense of purpose and a reason for getting up and out. We can care for and talk to our dog. A dog is a friend who offers unconditional love and companionship.
You do the math. Dog ownership decreases blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, doctor visits, loneliness, and stress. Dog ownership adds to activity level, social connections, wellbeing, serotonin and dopamine levels, and sense of purpose. When you add it all up, it’s easy to see that the health benefits of dog ownership are worth the expense and a little dog hair.
To see more research, go to these links: Scientific Reports
study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16118-6 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study