If you are very lucky, you have met at least one service dog. These heroic beasts are loyal and steadfast to a fault. They have rigorous training that requires them to sacrifice themselves to save their people. Only a very few puppies have the temperament to become service dogs.
Service dogs get intense and specialized training.
Some can pull and push wheelchairs. Some can pick up items from the floor or from a hard to reach cubby and place them in the hands of a human. Others can alert their diabetic handlers of a glucose imbalance. Still others know how to open doors, turn lights on and off, escort their bonded humans on and off public transportation, call for help, and assist in other elder care tasks,
Most people have seen service dogs in the company of blind or severely disabled individuals. But did you know that many other people are eligible for service dogs? Your senior could be eligible for a service dog if he has one of the following conditions:
- Partial or complete blindness
- Partial or complete deafness
- Poor balance and/or loss of strength that makes walking difficult or dangerous
Be aware of the language surrounding service dogs
There are a lot of different terms used to describe dogs that provide a service to humans. Service dogs are the same thing as assistance dogs so long as they are trained and certified to do a specific thing to help their humans.
Therapy dogs provide an important elder care service, but they are not, service dogs. The owner of a therapy dog will not necessarily be able to bring that dog into a restaurant or airplane. It’s up to the discretion of the individual business owner whether to allow entrance to therapy dogs. Emotional support dogs are basically the same thing as therapy dogs. However, psychiatric dogs are service dogs and must be afforded the same privileges as dogs that serve the blind.
Where are service dogs allowed?
True service dogs are, by law, allowed in any public place so long as they are not causing a disturbance. They are even allowed in hospitals and ambulances. Business owners and their staff are allowed to ask only two questions about a service dog. They may, legally, ask if this dog is required because of a disability, and what the dog is trained to do. They may not ask the disabled person questions about his disability. Nor is anyone allowed to ask for documentation.
In general, the first step in obtaining a service dog is to contact a service dog provider. They will determine if a senior’s disability makes him or her eligible for this kind of elder care assistance. To be eligible for a service dog, your senior must be able to train with the dog for at least an hour a day and give commands. Service dog recipients must be able to pay for the care and feeding of their dogs.
How can home care professionals help individuals with service dogs? Home care aides observe their clients very carefully and might be the first people to notice if a senior needs a service dog. They can provide transportation to and from the training program and accompany a client on walks with a service animal.
In conclusion, a service dog can be a great asset for a wide variety of people over the age of 65. Service dogs are NOT just for the blind and wheelchair-bound. If you believe your senior is eligible for a service dog, do not hesitate to contact a service dog provider and take the first steps.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Marysville, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, & Colusa Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (530) 268-7423
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