Today, one in every seven Americans are senior citizens. They account for 15.2% of the total population in the United States. This cohort group of baby boomers are age 65 and over. Over the next decade, the US can expect to see a further increase in senior citizens.
There are many health benefits to owning a dog during the golden years. According to the University of Missouri Health, having a dog has proven to lower stress, anxiety, and blood pressure.
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are America’s favorite family dogs so they are available and easy to find.
1. Provides immense emotional support
Emotional support is crucial during our senior years. While there are benefits such as increase freedom when we retire, seniors still face new challenges. These challenges include an increase in health problems, a decrease in social circles, and relationship changes.
At every stage of our lives, our needs change. And so does our emotional wellbeing. Seniors are no different as the emotional needs tend to further expand. Senior adults may face boredom, loneliness, and feel more vulnerable.
Having a Labrador Retriever offers many seniors unlimited emotional support. They play an integral part in their owners’ emotional well-being. Whether these easy-going pups are curling up next to you or sleeping on your lap, Labradors can help seniors feel less lonely.
When petting a dog, both the pet owner and the dog’s blood pressure goes down. Lower blood pressure means senior citizens are less likely to develop heart disease. Click here for more interesting dog facts.
Additionally, when seniors pet their Labradors and gaze into their eyes, it releases oxytocin for both the senior citizens and their dogs.
For senior adults who are experiencing depression, the National Institutes of Health pointed out that dogs can contribute to their happiness and reduce their depression.
Those suffering from anxiety should consider getting a Labrador Retriever. Labradors are among the best dog breeds for anxiety sufferers due to their cheerful and even-tempered nature.
As you can see, Labradors are useful in many situations. They also have a high pain tolerance. Lab Retrievers are often used during retrieval, rescue, and emergency situations. This makes them perfect for seniors who need assistance.
2. Motivates Seniors to be consistently active
Active retirees (or not) should consider getting a Labrador Retriever. Labs are known for their high energy nature. Since they require lots of daily physical exercise, it encourages their senior pet owners to go for walks and exercise.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adults of all ages should get 150 or more minutes of physical activity every week. For adults 60 years of age and older, walking is a great form of exercise since it is self-paced and low impact.
Walking with their dogs also helps seniors lower their body mass index and improve their overall health. This means fewer doctor visits. In addition, they will build a stronger bond with their dogs.
National Alliance on Mental Illness pointed out that a simple game of fetch or walking your dogs have shown to boost oxytocin and dopamine. This creates a positive feeling and bonding for both the seniors and their dogs.
Senior adults who prefer swimming would be happy to know that Labrador Retrievers are a sporting and waterfowl breed. With a waterproof double coat, Labradors love the water and can accompany their senior owners during the swim.
Swimming is a great form of exercise for senior citizens as it puts less pressure on the joints. Additionally, it improves ones’ cardiovascular health and endurance.
Exercise also increases endorphins which fights depression. Since Labradors need to exercise every day, active seniors who go on daily walks will appreciate having a companion next to them. During the daily walk around the neighborhood or to the dog park, senior adults may meet new friends along the way. Meeting new people helps alleviate feelings of loneliness. It is proven that socializing with other people face-to-face helps to ease symptoms of depression.
Thus, having Labradors can lead seniors to live a healthier lifestyle. Lab Retrievers need consistency and this will influence or even motivate senior adults (active or not) to get on a consistent schedule. According to Northwestern Medicine, seniors with a routine schedule will notice better sleep patterns and a reduction in stress levels.
3. Easy to train
Labrador Retrievers are intelligent dog breeds. They are smart and easy to train, which makes them great working dogs. No matter if they are puppies or adult aged, Lab Retrievers learn very quickly and adapt well to training. Not only are they responsive, but they are also very calm and focus during training. This makes them perfect for senior adults.
Since Labs love consistency, they can easily pick up daily routines and activities. It’s no wonder why they make for great service dogs as well. Labradors are usually used as guide dogs for the blind. Vision impaired seniors may consider getting a guide dog, which usually turns out to be a Labrador Retriever.
Labs love to please their owners for those delicious treats as they are highly food motivated. So make sure to have those dog treats available and ready.
4. Outgoing personality
It’s not surprising that Labrador Retrievers are warm-natured, friendly, and affectionate dogs. They are very kind and gentle to their owners. Their easygoing personality makes them great companions for senior citizens. With a playful spirit, senior owners should get ready to laugh a lot.
Best of all, Labradors have great temperaments and they get along with everyone, including children and toddlers. If seniors have their grandchildren over, they can expect their Labradors to play well with the grandchildren.
There are many health benefits to having a Labrador Retriever, especially for seniors. They are great companions to owners who feel lonely or in need of emotional support. No matter what seniors are going through, these Labs will stay by their side. Seniors may even be surprised by how loyal the Labradors are!