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Dogs make great companions for seniors. With their fun, loyal, and cute personalities, dogs are a joy to share a home with and provide many health and emotional benefits to their owners like lowering blood pressure while raising “feel-good” serotonin chemicals in the brain. Plus, being a pet parent in retirement provides plenty of perks for the dog by having an owner with a more flexible schedule and the ability to be at home most of the day. But with so many different dog breeds to choose from, how can you know which dog is best for older adults?
With so many dog breeds that come in all shapes and sizes it can be a challenge—and important—to know which dog is the best dog for you and your living situation. Luckily, certain dog breeds have traits that fit perfectly alongside an older adult’s golden years.
Overall, the best dog breeds for seniors have lower energy levels and are smaller in size. This is especially true for seniors that may have downsized their lifestyles to live in a home at a senior living community. To find out the best dog for your lifestyle we’ve compiled our top picks for the best dogs for seniors:
An ancient dog breed once favored by Chinese Emperors, a pug will leave you feeling like royalty when it’s by your side. Pugs are small dogs that weigh between 14 to 18 pounds, can live for up to 15 years, and have either light brown or black fur. Known for their loyal and loving temperaments, pugs are an easy dog to take care of and require no special grooming. Pugs are great for older adults because they don’t need a lot of exercise, love to cuddle on the couch, are easy-going, and gentle. This dog is great for someone who likes to relax at home and enjoy a quiet retirement.
Being the fastest dog breed by a country mile, greyhounds may not be the first dog you think of when it comes to companions for older adults. Greyhounds are a large breed that can weigh up to 70 pounds and live up to 13 years. Greyhounds come in a variety of colors such as tan, brown, black, and red. Ironically, gray is the rarest greyhound color and is referred to as “blue.” While their size and racetrack reputations are no joke, greyhounds are one of the most calm and gentle breeds around. They are not the high energy dogs many think they are. A greyhound is a great dog for older adults because they enjoy walks as much as they enjoy lounging on the couch. This dog is perfect if you want a breed that is large but easy to handle.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a German breed of small dog bred by farmers. The breed can weigh up to 20 pounds and live for up to 15 years. The breed comes in black, salt and pepper, black and silver, and in rare instances red. With a strong, outgoing, and energetic personality, miniature schnauzers are great for a senior who is more active and would enjoy frequent walks or trips to the park. As an added plus, this breed is low-shedding and hypoallergenic, but they have a double coat of fur which requires regular brushing or professional grooming.
Cute, humorous, curious, and playful, the French bulldog hits all the marks when it comes to a great canine companion for older adults. This breed is small, but can weigh up to 28 pounds and live for up to 12 years. Equipped with distinct bat-like ears and an even disposition, seniors looking for a dog that will entertain them as well as their friends and family should look no further. Their adaptability and easy trainability make them a perfect fit into any living situation.
At three to seven pounds, the fluffy Pomeranian is an ideal dog for older adults who live in more compact quarters. These puffball pets are loveable, sweet, and make for the perfect dog to sit in your lap. Pomeranians are also known for their long life spans which are up to 16 years. Seniors who enjoy grooming their dog will find joy in brushing the Pomeranian’s furry coat. An all-around adaptable dog, this breed is active, but can be exercised with both indoor play and outdoor walks. Highly intelligent, the Pomeranian will master tricks and commands before your eyes with ease.
For older adults looking for one breed that checks just about every box, the pug is our number one pick. With its relaxed temperament, charming looks, and easy trainability, this breed will make a great addition to any senior’s home. Want to go for a walk in the morning? Want to relax on the sofa and watch a movie? The pug can do it all at your pace.
If you live at a senior living community, make sure to check if pets are allowed. At Five Star, we welcome your pet with open arms!
Many of our pet-friendly communities offer trails and other green spaces for you to enjoy the fresh air with your furry friend. Plus, if you’re out on a community excursion or outing, we allow dog walkers to access our buildings during the day.
Love dogs, but not ready to make the full commitment? We’ve got you covered! Five Star’s exclusive Lifestyle360 programming includes pet therapy activities so you can enjoy cuddling with a therapy dog to add a little extra joy in your life.
Studies show that spending quality time with animals can be good for your health by lowering blood pressure and adding joy and purpose to each day. Five Star is reimagining aging for older adults. With senior living communities in 28 states, Five Star offers a quality of life that’s ageless.
GOOD NUTRITION IS THE FOUNDATION FOR GOOD HEALTH.A combination of proper nutrients and exercise can help prevent a variety of chronic diseases. Throughout the aging process, bone and muscle mass is lost as metabolisms change. Due to the unique nutritional needs of seniors, taking the proper measures to provide wholesome, healthy foods is key to avoiding malnutrition and disease.NUTRITION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SENIORS Though seniors often have lower calorie requirements, they may need more nutrients than younger people. As we age, our ability to absorb nutrients from our food becomes less efficient. Creating a plan with a health professional, such as a dietician, can help seniors age with optimal nourishment.Nutrient-Dense Meals and SnacksUnderstanding the key nutrients for seniors, such as lean protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D can result in healthier plates. Whole grains and dairy products both provide a boost to a seniors daily nutrition goal. Hearty soups are popular, as they are easily chewed and can provide vegetables, protein, and grains in a single bowl.Hydration, Hydration, HydrationSome seniors begin to lose the sensation of thirst, which may lead to dehydration and difficulty digesting meals. Sugary drinks, such as soda and fruit juice with added sweeteners should be enjoyed in moderation. Low-fat milk helps to hydrate and also provides key nutrients, such as protein, potassium, and calcium. Calorie Intake Seniors who find themselves struggling to consume enough calories each day should consider switching to full-fat milk and adding healthy fats and oils to boost calories. Nut butter and avocados are ideal and spread easily on toast or as a standalone snack. Dietary Supplements When NeededDepending on the seniors health, supplements may be recommended. One example is many seniors are prone to calcium and Vitamin D deficiency, which affects bone health. Supplements may help with deficiencies and can in the form of a daily meal-replacement shake or chewable vitamins and minerals. Focus On VarietyHealth experts encourage people of all ages to eat the rainbow. By filling a plate with diverse, colorful options, appetites increase and mealtime becomes more stimulating. Encourage variety to avoid the boredom associated with repetition.WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELPAt Celebration Villa of South Hills, we believe in providing practical tips to help ensure that our senior residents obtain proper nutrition. If unintentional weight loss has occurred, its important to visit a doctor to ensure there are no underlying medical causes. A doctor can provide a referral to a dietician, who is best equipped to build a personalized plan to promote a nourishing eating regimen tailored specifically for our residents.We understand that seniors who have recently experienced the loss of a spouse or a close friend are prone to loneliness, which can escalate to a depressive state. This makes it difficult for our seniors to cook or feed themselves, even if theyre otherwise independent. Thats why, at Celebration Villa of Teays Valley, we encourage all families to check on their loved ones. You can support them by providing healthy meals or accompanying them out to eat to encourage conversation and enjoy a hearty plate together.Within our senior living community, we provide nutritious meals each day, and there is a strong sense of social belonging built around eating together. We take great care to ensure that each resident is meeting their personal nutrition goals. Our dedicated team works closely with licensed nutritionists to create a menu of wholesome, healthy, and delicious meals that cater to the unique needs of our seniors.
THE ALONG THE JOURNEY PROGRAM WAS CREATED BY PRIORITY LIFE CARE WITH RESIDENTS, THEIR FAMILIES, AND CAREGIVERS IN MIND.The services provided are adjusted to fit each individuals abilities and specific needs. The program has been designed to benefit all stages of memory loss while remaining flexible enough to be adapted daily.The overarching goal is to ensure that each resident, as well as their families, feel connected, respected, and comfortable during periods of difficult transition. The program primarily targets those suffering from memory impairments, whether it be early-stage dementia or late-stage Alzheimers.WHAT IS THE ALONG THE JOURNEY PROGRAM?Along the Journey (ATJ) is a memory care program that launched in 2019 in Priority Life Cares memory care neighborhoods. Fundamentally, it prioritizes strengths over limitations. Activities are purpose-driven and not based on achievement, thus allowing those with memory loss to participate without feeling lost, confused, and agitated.This innovative program begins with a holistic assessment of the residents abilities, both cognitive and physical. Based on the assessment, a care plan is formulated and includes input from the resident and their family, as well as their physicians and caregivers.The plan includes information on the likes, dislikes, and cultural preferences of the resident. To keep the seniors as comfortable as possible, the staff makes every effort to provide a largely predictable routine.FOSTERING A SENSE OF BELONGING WITHIN THE COMMUNITYThose suffering from diseases that affect memory may feel left behind or forgotten. At Priority Life Care, caregivers work in conjunction with the ATJ program to encourage physical motion, stimulate mental engagement, and offer opportunities for spiritual and social connection.Life stations provide a sense of familiarity for the resident through tasks such as folding clothes and operating a computer. This allows the senior to focus on a specific, low-stress task with an attainable outcome.Social engagements such as trivia games and ice cream parties are scheduled, which allow residents the opportunity to become acquainted with other residents. The program celebrates small wins as significant achievements, allowing everyone the chance to be represented.Activities are thoughtfully designed around reducing any agitation and improving the mood of the residents. Social interaction is encouraged to ward off isolation, which can further impair a residents wellness journey.SUPPORTING THOSE WITH MEMORY IMPAIRMENTSMemory loss comes in stages and Priority Life Care recognizes the importance of providing a program suitable for each stage of this difficult journey. Through the integration of senior-friendly tech, residents across a spectrum of cognitive abilities are encouraged to participate in their care by engaging daily.To ensure a successful transition into the residential community, our staff invites residents to bring familiar furnishings of home such as furniture, cherished items, and other domestic objects. This creates an inviting environment for the resident, which eases the initial discomfort of being in a new place.Residents will enjoy a structured daily plan that focuses on wellness and supporting independence, all while ensuring dignity and respect. This environment allows those with memory impairments to maintain functional abilities for as long as possible while remaining comfortable along their journey.Staff with specific dementia-centered training and experience support our residents with memory loss, including accommodations such as dietary oversight, assistance with medication, and general hygiene.
What Role Does Technology Play in Alzheimer's Care? Technology is increasingly becoming an important part of Alzheimers care, providing families and caregivers with an additional layer of support in managing the challenges that come with the disease. From sophisticated tracking systems that monitor patient movements and activities to artificial intelligence-based assistance, technology offers a range of solutions to help ease the burden of caring for an Alzheimers patient. In this blog post, well explore the various roles that technology can play in providing individuals with Alzheimers and their families with improved care and assistance. Technological Innovations in Alzheimer's Care Assistive devices for daily activities: Smart home technology: Smart home devices can be programmed to assist with daily tasks such as medication reminders, turning off appliances, and adjusting lighting. Reminder systems: These devices use visual and auditory cues to remind patients about important tasks, appointments, and medication schedules. Monitoring and safety devices: GPS tracking devices: These devices can help locate individuals with Alzheimer's who may wander and become disoriented, ensuring their safety and providing peace of mind for caregivers. Fall detection systems: Fall detection technology can automatically alert caregivers or emergency services in the event of a fall, enabling quick response and timely medical assistance. Cognitive stimulation and memory support: Digital memory aids: Mobile applications and devices can help individuals with Alzheimer's improve their memory and cognitive function through interactive exercises, reminders, and brain-training games. Virtual reality therapy: Virtual reality technology can create immersive experiences that stimulate the senses and provide therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer's patients, such as reducing anxiety and improving mood.Benefits of Technology in Alzheimer's Care Enhanced safety and security: Technology offers various safety features, such as tracking devices and fall detection systems, that help prevent accidents and provide immediate assistance when needed. Improved quality of life for patients and caregivers: Assistive devices and cognitive stimulation tools can enhance the daily lives of Alzheimer's patients, promote independence, and alleviate the burden on caregivers. Increased independence and autonomy for patients: Technology allows individuals with Alzheimer's to perform daily tasks more independently, boosting their confidence and preserving their sense of self. Potential for early detection and intervention: Technological advancements, such as wearable devices and digital assessments, have the potential to detect early signs of Alzheimer's, enabling early intervention and better disease management. Challenges and Limitations of Technology in Alzheimer's Care Cost and accessibility issues: Some advanced technologies may be expensive or inaccessible to certain individuals, limiting their widespread adoption. Privacy and ethical concerns: The use of technology in Alzheimer's care raises concerns about data privacy and the ethical implications of monitoring and tracking individuals with cognitive impairments. Learning curve for patients and caregivers: Technology implementation may require a learning curve for both patients and caregivers, especially for older adults who may be less familiar with digital devices. Limitations of technology in addressing emotional and social needs: While technology can provide practical support, it may not fully address the emotional and social needs of individuals with Alzheimer's, which require human interaction and empathy. Future Trends and Possibilities Advances in wearable technology: Wearable devices, such as smartwatches and biosensors, hold promise in monitoring and predicting changes in cognitive function, allowing for personalized care and early intervention.Artificial intelligence and machine learning in Alzheimer's care: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to provide personalized treatment plans, predict disease progression, and assist in decision-making for caregivers and healthcare professionals. Integration of technology with traditional care approaches: The integration of technology with traditional care approaches, such as therapy and medication management, can optimize Alzheimer's care by providing comprehensive and tailored solutions. Conclusion Technology plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's care, offering innovative solutions to enhance safety, improve quality of life, and promote independence for patients and caregivers. While there are challenges and limitations to consider, ongoing research and development hold the promise of further advancements in technology-enabled care. By embracing these advancements and continuing to explore new possibilities, we can hope for a future where technology greatly improves the lives of Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Alzheimer's care and the role of technology, feel free to contact us. We are here to support you on this journey.