The elderly need not be so isolated

Growing old can be an isolating experience. As men often die younger than women, elderly men can feel particularly lonely in care homes. If men put more emphasis on work than family, their sense of loneliness in retirement can be exacerbated. The loneliness some men and women experience in their latter years can be alleviated by dogs.

An example of dog therapy, recently reported in the Sunday Mercury, is the case of Sydney Glossop. A retired solicitor, Sydney was based in Norwich, but at the age of 90 moved to a care home in the Midlands to be in closer proximity to his sister. Sadly, his sister died soon after Sydney’s move and Sydney was left without any significant local connections. Norwich and his friends seemed very distant.

Fortunately, Sydney was soon visited by Dino. Dino is a retired greyhound who frequently visits Sydney in the company of his owner Pam Dewar. Ms Dewar is a super volunteer for the important charity Pets as Therapy. For the last year, Sydney has been receiving a visit from Dino every fortnight. This may seem quite a little thing, but it really has changed Sydney’s life in a significant fashion.

Sydney stated:

Dino’s my contact with the outside world. I look on the calendar to see when he’s coming next and look forward to his visits…I could go back to Norwich but I would miss Dino.

Care homes can be depressing places for some residents. However, if society gets its act together this should not be the case. Many of us will grow old and we will then want dignity and attention; dogs can help.


  • I agree that loneliness for the elderly can be quite frustrating. For men, it might be a little worse. My father and mother divorced when I was 14 and he never remarried. My mother died three years ago and now I have to take care of my dad. He is constantly calling me because he wants to talk. I feel bad sometimes when I cannot go visit him, but I try to keep in touch with him as best as I can because at least he is still alive and the moments are precious.

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