Whether furry and four-legged, feathered or finned, pets help make life better. In fact, last year Americans spent an estimated $109.6 billion on animal companions. As a pet-friendly senior living community, Country Meadows welcomes pets.
If you have pets, you understand the power of a cuddle and the joy of coming home to a tail waggling in excitement just because you arrived. Pet-friendly retirement communities recognize the value of people-pet relationships, especially for older adults in senior living.
Proven health benefits of pet ownership at a pet-friendly senior living community
Science has proven time and time again that there are health benefits for older adults with pets. Animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase social interaction and physical activity for seniors living in a pet-friendly senior living community.
Research has shown that simply petting an animal or talking to it lowers blood pressure and heart rate potentially leading to an increased life expectancy. When stroking a pet, the brain releases a higher level mood enhancing hormones while lowering stress hormones.
Country Meadows’ resident, Kathryn, enjoys living in a pet-friendly senior living community and says her cat, Lexi, is very special. “I enjoy having Lexi here with me; she’s company. In fact, she fills a void, she says. “If I didn’t have her here, I would be lost.”
Owning a pet also provides a sense of purpose for seniors living in a pet-friendly senior living community. The responsibility of caring for an animal provides reason to get up in the morning and to be needed which combats depression and feelings of isolation and loneliness. Plus sometimes they just make us laugh through their play and silliness!
For dog parents in pet-friendly senior living, walking a dog helps get them out of the house, exercise and meet new people. The best retirement communities often offer assistance with walking dogs when a senior is under the weather, outside weather is frightful or the individual is away for a few days.
Several pet-friendly retirement communities offer dog parks on campus or transportation to nearby dog parks for animals to get the exercise they need in safely fenced areas to stay healthy.
At Country Meadows’ Hershey campus, canine pals Ozark and Maddie enjoy playing in the pet-friendly senior living community’s fenced outdoor area.
Study shows pet ownership can help maintain brain health
A preliminary study released by researchers at the University of Michigan this February links owning a pet for five or more years to delayed aging in the brain.
“Prior studies have suggested that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress,” says study author Tiffany Braley, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. “Our results suggest pet ownership may also be protective against cognitive decline.”
As stress negatively affects brain function, and pets tend to lower stress levels, the study suggests the stress-buffering effects of having a pet may be the reason for better brain health. Add in health benefits such as increased physical activity and lower rates of depression linked to pet ownership which correlate with delaying cognitive decline.
Caring for a pet safely in pet-friendly retirement communities
Caring for pets is both a joy and a commitment. As we get older, daily chores to provide care for a pet may become difficult. To help residents continue in caring for pets, the best retirement communities offer staff assistance so seniors can continue to live happily and safely with their animal friends at a pet-friendly senior living community. Pet ownerships can continue to be fulfilling following these tips to use mindful movements and helpful tools.
For those residents who do not own a pet and appreciate animals, our pet-friendly senior living communities have house pets for residents, visitors and co-workers to enjoy at their leisure. And therapy pets visit frequently.
Country Meadows offers senior living services at its nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus in Frederick, Maryland. Country Meadows are pet-friendly and pet-loving communities offering a variety of services from independent and assisted living, to personal care, memory support and restorative care. If you would like more information about how we can support you or a loved one, please contact us today. Our co-workers can answer questions and provide information on our services.