There are more than 30,000 retirement living communities in the United States. If you include dedicated nursing homes and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, that number is closer to 50,000. The sheer volume of choices can make it difficult to narrow down the best senior living company. When you are deciding on a retirement community, there are many factors to consider. These include the levels of independent or assisted living you or your loved ones requires. You want there to be plenty of social and recreational opportunities as well.For this reason, more people are considering pet-friendly senior living. It can provide many benefits, including companionship and continuity for someone who is transitioning from living on their own to a new environment. The information below covers some of the advantages of choosing a pet-friendly senior living community. Keep reading to find out if one is the right choice for you.
Almost anyone in a senior living residence can benefit from having a pet. One of the biggest reasons is companionship. Moving to a new place where you may not know anyone can be a challenge. While reputable senior living communities will have lots of opportunities to socialize and meet new people, it can still be a stressful time. Having a pet as a companion can help ease any sense of aloneness, regardless of how minimal or profound it may be.
If you have ever been to a dog park, you know that pets are a great way to meet new people. Asking a stranger their pet’s name or offering a treat is a natural bridge to interaction. This is not exclusive to dogs though. Having a pet can be an easy way to start a conversation or a reason to get together with fellow pet owners. Also, people who do not own pets may enjoy visiting yours, which is another way having a pet can improve socialization in an assisted or independent living community.
A Calming Presence
Pets can bring a natural, calming presence to a senior living environment. They are always happy to see you, which can relieve stress and increase joy and happiness. This in turn can have far-reaching health implications, including lower blood pressure and better sleep. Having a pet around is an easy way to brighten your day.
A Sense of Purpose
Pets can be a lot of fun, but they also demand a lot of responsibility. You need to feed them, tend to their medical needs, and spend time with them. That can bring a sense of purpose to your daily life in a senior living community. This may not be as important to a young person who is busy with a job or raising children. But it can be a huge asset for someone who is retired and wants to stay busy.
Aid in Life Transitions
Change can be difficult for anyone. Transitioning to a senior living facility can present unique challenges though, since it often involves leaving the home you shared with a spouse or raised your children in. Being able to bring your pet along can ease the emotional aspect of this transition. Conversely, if you have a pet and are about to move to a senior living facility, the prospect of giving them up can be quite stressful. It also can be emotionally difficult, especially if you do not have a relative or close friend who is able to take the pet. The ability to have your four-legged friend continue to live with you in a pet-friend senior living community can be a very valuable opportunity, for you and them.
This advantage is particular to dogs (versus, say, cats or fish), but pets can be a motivational tool for anyone to get outdoors. Needing to walk a dog can be a fun incentive for incorporating exercise into a resident’s routine. We will not completely rule cats out on this one though. While there may be less of an exercise component, playing with your pet indoors can be a form of recreation as well. Regardless of the amount of exercise you get (or do not get), engaging a pet on a regular basis can help keep anyone active.
Address Specific Health Issues
We have been talking about the general advantages of choosing a pet-friendly senior living, but there are more specific health advantages as well, including treating specific conditions or diseases. Pet therapy, or “animal-assisted therapy,” refers to guided interactions between people and animals. It is based on the natural bond humans share with animals. Pet therapy is often employed to help individuals cope with or recover from health issues or a mental disorder. While dogs and cats are the most common animals used in pet therapy, fish, horses, guinea pigs, and others can be useful in reaching therapeutic goals.
It is easy to see how useful pet therapy can be in a senior living community. Pets can aid in improving joint and motor skills, as well as increasing movement. They can be a motivational tool for encouraging exercise as a form of physical rehabilitation. Pet therapy has many mental and emotional advantages as well. It can encourage communication, develop social skills, and improve self-esteem. Pet therapy can be a valuable tool in memory care. It has also been proven to reduce boredom, decrease loneliness, and lessen anxiety and depression, in many cases. As mentioned, this can be an asset for anyone. But pet therapy can be a useful tool for someone who is combatting specific conditions, ailments, or other health challenges.
Learn More About Pet-Friendly Senior Living
Now that you understand the advantages of pet-friendly senior living, you can determine if it is right for you or your loved one. It can be a welcomed benefit for pet lovers entering this unique phase of life. Inspired Living is a resort-style, welcoming, safe, and secure retirement community. We accept small dogs and cats (under 30 pounds) and have an on-site dog park and a network of easy-to-navigate walking trails, in addition to all our other modern amenities.
Reach out to us today to learn more.