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Benefits of Service Dogs for Seniors

Aug 15, 2016 by Jack Warren

We’ve all heard the term, and are getting pretty familiar with it.  But, what is really meant by “service dogs?”

Service dogs are specially trained dogs who provide benefits to seniors and to people with physical disabilities. The most recognizable service dog would be the one helping visually impaired persons with navigating their homes and neighborhoods. But today, service dogs aid people with many types of disabilities and varying circumstances, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and physical limitations resulting from service injuries. Service dogs are permitted in all public places.

Today service dogs are being used to help seniors more than ever before. Some of the types of service dogs that are trained for specific ailments are:

  • Seeing eye dogs for the visually impaired
  • Hearing or signal dogs for the deaf or hearing impaired
  • Mobility assistance dogs who can help with daily tasks, retrieve items, open doors, or even pull a wheelchair.

Even when the senior has family caregivers or outside caregiving assistance, a service dog can be beneficial.

For the best information on service dogs, there are several organizations dedicated to training and placing dogs with people with disabilities.

  • Assistance Dogs International is a group of not for profit assistance dog organizations. Their purpose is “to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of assistance dogs, staff and volunteer education, as well as educating the public about assistance dogs, and advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities partnered with assistance dogs.”
  • The National Association of Service Dogs goal is “to help people live a more enjoyable and productive life using service dogs.” They were established to register and certify service dogs. They are responsible for creating the first formal process requiring documentation to aid in service dog verification.
  • The National Service Animal Registry.  They maintain a database of service dogs that provides resources on service dogs and the rights of service dogs.
  • The United States Service Dog Registry.  This is where you can register your service dog, and learn all about the laws and regulations that apply to your service dog. There is also a service dog lookup directory that is available to you.
  • Besides these organizations, there usually are local organizations that train service dogs, and provide placement of service dogs with Veterans, seniors and the disabled.
  • National Resource Directory is for Veterans. It connects wounded Vets, retired vets, and active service members, along with their caregivers and families, with a plethora of resources providing help, support, and assistance, including service dog organizations.
  •  DogCapes.com offers a useful, state-by-state listing of service dog trainers.

Service dogs are lifesavers for seniors and other persons with disabilities. Call us for more information 866-942-1960.

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