The past year has been hard for many people around the world, but it has proven especially difficult for seniors who suddenly find themselves cut off from their cherished social connections. Normally, regular contact with friends and family is a crucial element of senior care. When older folks share stories and laughter with those they love, they’re better able to fend off the mental decline that often comes with aging. They’re also more likely to stay happy and healthy, with the personal contact having genuine benefits for physical health.
Since the covid-19 pandemic first swept across the globe, lots of seniors have been forced into hitherto unimaginable isolation. While the virus can kill people of any age, it has proven especially deadly when contracted by seniors. This has forced seniors to be especially cautious about avoiding the disease. Many younger people have stopped visiting older friends and relatives out of concern for their health. Nursing home residents have suffered from acute loneliness, waiting for the pandemic to pass in the confines of an institution.
When people are struggling from such emotional distress, it’s vital to find some mechanism to keep them from falling into despair. In more than one occasion, animals have provided seniors with the affection and comfort they were so desperately lacking.
While dogs and cats might not be a like-for-like replacement for human relationships, they’re certainly better than nothing. As any dog-lover can attest, the unique bond these animals form with humans makes them delightful companions. Dogs are remarkably attuned to human emotions, and they actively seek to comfort a person in distress.
In some nursing homes, staff have begun to bring their pets to work with them. This has had a huge effect on the morale among the residents of the home. Seniors have spoken of the hope and inspiration they draw from the animals. When a dog insists on staying by your side through thick and thin, it helps show you that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
The dogs themselves have also shown they love their new relationships with residents. It seems that bringing dogs into nursing homes is a great way to cheer up both humans and canines alike.