There are a few reasons why senior communities and pets go together. Dogs may be considered man’s best friend but let’s not forget cats, both of whom are popular with the older generation. Pets are particularly important in providing health benefits, both mental and physical.

Senior Communities Who Welcome Pets

Many Senior Communities welcome residents to have pets as they are helpful when making a transition from a former home to a new environment. There may be restrictions on size and a deposit fee may be required. Location of the apartment chosen may also be an option to consider. In all communities the relationship between an owner and their pet is recognized as being similar to a family bondThose welcoming pets may offer services in a Level of Care or assistance by a staff member if the owner becomes ill and the pet needs temporary care. Others may require the resident or the family to be solely responsible for the pet’s care.

Benefits Provided by Pets

Imagine the emptiness felt when leaving a pet behind with strangers or even surrendering it to a shelter. Pets need help adjusting to a new home as well as their owners.

Research has documented the positive effects pets have on a person’s health. A little time to stroke a cat or dog has been shown to provide powerful healing benefits, even if it belongs to someone else. When family member visits are less frequent, pets help fill the void.

In addition to 24/7 companionship animals provide other biological benefits. The comfort provided by a pet generates changes in the brain: lower cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone) and an increase in levels of serotonin (the “feel-good hormone”).

Blood pressure is impacted positively. Studies show pets may reduce their owner’s blood pressure and may decrease cholesterol levels. Seniors who have pets have a lower risk of heart problems, suffer less from depression and have improved mental health.

Pets are excellent reasons for Seniors to exercise. Physical activity is required to take care of a pet, particularly dogs who need to be walked daily.

Taking care of a pet provides an owner with a sense of purpose.

Pet Therapy

Not all Seniors are capable of taking care of a pet but still enjoy the company of an animal. As a result, many Senior Living Communities have animal therapy available. Trained therapy animals may visit the community for these residents. A visit with one of these animals (primarily dogs or cats but don’t be surprised to see a llama or rabbit) stimulates positive reactions in Seniors who spend time with them. For many, these positive feelings last long after the furry visitor has left.

Guiding people to Senior Living Communities allowing pets is only one of the many services offered by Bridge to Better Living. Making a transition from a past style of living to a new one may have unique or even difficult challenges. Bridge to Better Living’s Transition Consultants are experts in assisting with the questions and concerns. They are dedicated to Placement with Passion. Contact BBL, a no cost to the client service, for resources and information on how to make a smooth and no stress transition.