Animals bring joy and happiness to almost everyone, and seniors are no exception. Most pet owners will agree that a warm snuggle from your pet is highly therapeutic, or taking your companion on a walk is the best excuse to get some fresh air and absorb some sunshine! Pets give enrich our lives as much as we do theirs, and they can make a huge difference in our daily lives. One of the biggest concerns among people considering making the transition to residing in our retirement community and senior housing facilities is what will happen to their beloved pets, and if they will they be able to continue living with them.
Pets are our best friends and companions, and losing contact with them can be devastating. That’s why many of our retirement communities not only allow pets to visit but also even allow them to move in permanently with the approval of the general manager! For specific details, contact the locations closest to you. Some exceptions may apply to complex-care facilities.
The medical establishment has long recognized the benefits of pet and animal therapy in retirement communities. Here are some of the benefits seniors can gain from living with a pet.
1. Improved Health & Stress Relief. Holding an animal has been proven to lower blood pressure. While petting a dog or cat has a tangible calming effect on almost everyone.
2. Exercise. Dogs need to be walked at least once a day, which gets seniors moving and outside in to the fresh air. Cats enjoy playtime too. Even if a senior can no longer live with or exclusively care for their pet, a family member is more than welcome to bring their pet to visit!
3. Companionship. Pets can alleviate some of the isolation that can affect seniors, especially if family and friends no longer live close by. Having an animal may also help connect them with other pet owners, creating friendships and opportunities to socialize. Going on daily walks or visiting the park is a great opportunity to connect with the community and make new friends! Not to mention the unwavering devotion and unconditional love that pets give their family.
4. Routine. Having a pet provides structure and purpose, requiring the pet owner to supply love, food, interaction and exercise. A regular routine can provide people with a sense of fulfillment at any age.
5. Shift of Focus. Attending to a pet can help distract those with ailments from their own pain or discomfort, which otherwise might occupy much of their thoughts and contribute to lowering their mood. A visit from an animal lifts their spirits and provides entertainment!
6. Reduced depression. Failing health and declining independence cause many seniors to fall into depression. A pet can help prevent this. Pets keep you motivated, active and engaged each day!
Having a pet is incredibly beneficial to the elderly. If they aren’t able to care for a pet on their own, many senior communities allow family members to bring pets to visit or provide sessions with specially trained therapy animals from the community.
If you’d like to bring your pet to visit a loved one in a retirement setting, remember to check the rules first. A visiting pet should have a calm, friendly disposition, must meet vaccination requirements and must be in good health. The best way to ensure your pet meets the criteria for visiting your friend in senior living is to ask the management about the rules.
Retirement Concepts has pet-friendly retirement communities in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. We recognize that pets spread happiness and love wherever they go, and we support the enrichment they bring to the lives of our residents and staff! Contact us today for more information and to speak with a Community Relations Manager to learn more about your nearest Retirement Concepts community.