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Age-inclusive communities encourage social interaction among different age groups. This is particularly crucial for older members of society as 37% of them say they have a lack of companionship. For this reason, the majority of the 18% of seniors living in New York are encouraged to get a pet dog. But it’s not just loneliness at home that a dog can help with, they also promote age-inclusive communities as a whole.


Making New Social Connections

28% of seniors in the US currently live alone. Getting out and about is a great way for these individuals to interact with others. But for many people, this is a daunting idea. However, when they have a dog by their side they’re more likely to strike up a conversation with others. Research shows that dog owners are five times more likely to get to know other people living in their neighborhoods than people without pets. 40% even class the neighbors they meet when out with their dogs as friends. It’s much easier to talk to other people with dogs because there’s an obvious common interest among individuals. The age of both individuals doesn’t matter as simply sharing dog training tips, recommending great walks, and admiring each other’s dogs is all that’s needed to start a friendship.

Dog Meetups

85% of dog owners say they consider their dog to be family. This means that dog owners young and old want the best for their furry friends, so socialization with other local pooches is a must. Socialization is great for managing a dog’s behavior, as is a holistic approach to dog training. There are already lots of active dog groups in New York that provide owners with the opportunity to meet up and socialize with other dog owners and their hounds. But to make sure that older dog owners feel included and have the opportunity to expand their social network, an age-inclusive action plan should be implemented. The aim should be to get seniors participating in community activities with their pets so they don’t feel isolated, to respect and encourage social inclusion, and ensure that the older generation has access to all the information they need to care for their dogs. In outdoor groups, the area must be safe and accessible for people of all ages. Maps, benches, toilets, ramps, and rest areas should, therefore, be prioritized.

Increasing Social Skills

Research shows that aging individuals have less confidence than younger people. This can be due to many things, including losing the ability to do things and not spending as much time around others as they previously had. When someone isn’t confident, it can affect their social skills. Thankfully, owning a dog can undo this. 54% of dog owners say their pooch increases their confidence. But if both the owner and dog are experiencing confidence issues, reiki is a great way to overcome this. Reiki is a holistic treatment that focuses on peace and tranquility that’s suitable for humans and dogs. Dogs are also great at sensing when their owners are anxious or stressed. Most will act appropriately and offer comfort, affection, or protection. This can further boost confidence and improve social skills. As a result, the community will naturally become more age-inclusive as others get to know older dog walkers by stopping and talking to them regularly.

Volunteering Opportunities

Understandably, not every senior wants the responsibility of owning a dog. Thankfully, this doesn’t prevent them from being involved in the local community or mixing with different age groups. Dogs are often used in community volunteer programs and visit people’s homes, nursing homes, and hospitals as therapy dogs, service dogs, or emotional support animals. In situations like this, the dog will attend with their handler, as well as other dogs and their handlers. This provides a great opportunity for seniors to integrate into the community, discuss their thoughts and feelings with others, and get to know lots of new people.

Dogs are the most popular pet, so it makes sense for them to be used to foster age-inclusive communities. Having a dog is a shared interest and they’re great conversation starters. Plus, their ability to read their owners’ emotions makes it easier than ever for older dog owners to feel confident and capable of making friends when they’re out with their canine friends.

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