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Seniors and Pet August 11, 2023

Pet Friendly Senior Living Benefits All Animal Lovers

By: Country Meadows | Senior Living

The bond between humans and animals is complex and deeply rooted. Studies have shown time and time again that animal companions can offer numerous benefits for people of all ages and can be a valuable tool in healthy aging. In pet friendly senior living, furry friends enhance the overall quality of life for residents.

Some retirement communities like Country Meadows offer pet friendly senior living. For residents who don’t have a pet of their own, each campus has house pets for everyone to love, spoil and enjoy. And Dynamic Living teams plan visits to and from animal rescue groups, volunteer opportunities to make pet toys and treats and special events such as dog weddings and furry sweethearts.

Pets provide many benefits, including:

Companionship

Pets provide companionship and emotional support, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that some seniors may experience. A pet friendly senior living community provides many opportunities to interact with animals, whether individual pets or therapy animals.

Stress reduction

Interacting with pets has been shown to lower stress levels and promote relaxation, which can be especially valuable for seniors dealing with the challenges of aging. Staff at a pet friendly senior living community can help older adults provide care for beloved furry friends when needed.

Physical activity

Having a pet encourages regular physical activity, such as walking dogs or playing with cats, which can help seniors stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Social interaction

Pets can serve as conversation starters, fostering connections between residents and encouraging social interactions within the community. At pet friendly senior living, meeting neighbors’ animals is a great way to break the ice, start conversations and make new friends.

Routine and structure

Taking care of a pet can establish a daily routine and provides a sense of purpose, providing responsibility and stability.

Improved mental health

Several studies have shown that pets boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, contributing to overall mental well-being. Pet friendly senior living provides many opportunities for residents to interact with animals, whether the pet lives on campus, is visiting or is part of an educational presentation.

Cognitive stimulation

Interacting with pets can stimulate cognitive functions, such as memory and problem-solving skills, which are essential for maintaining mental sharpness in our later years. Activities involving animals are effective in helping residents living with dementia in pet friendly senior living.

Even if a resident chooses not to own their own furry friend, various animal-related activities are planned to provide opportunities for seniors to interact with pets. Some of these activities include:

Pet therapy

Animals certified in therapy, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and even reptiles, visit pet friendly senior living communities to interact with residents. Therapy animals are known for their gentle temperament and are specifically trained to provide comfort and companionship. Residents can pet, cuddle or simply spend time with animals.

Educational presentations

Some pet friendly senior living facilities invite animal experts to bring a variety of animals such as exotic birds, reptiles, small mammals and others, for residents to interact with and learn about.

Volunteer opportunities

Many residents at pet friendly senior living communities enjoy supporting local animal rescues. At Country Meadows, residents make dog biscuits for local shelters as well as toys and treats. And residents look forward to visiting shelters in their respective areas to donate items in person and meet shelter residents.

Birdwatching

Regardless of whether or not one lives at a pet friendly senior living community, birdwatching is a fun opportunity to observe and enjoy local birds. At Country Meadows, residents often enjoy birding walks during which experts point out different birds, talk about their unique traits and educate residents about local habitats.

Special activities

Pet friendly senior living communities like Country Meadows are able to offer unique interactions with various types of animals. At Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents enjoyed a therapeutic puppy yoga session, which was more about cuddling than yoga. At the Forks in Easton location, residents spent their Valentine’s Day receiving pooch smooches from local shelter dogs, while at Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents were invited to attend a doggie wedding.

Aquariums

Having an aquarium in common areas or resident apartments can be therapeutic. Watching colorful fish swim can be relaxing and help reduce anxiety and stress. Aquariums often can be found regardless of whether or not a community offers pet friendly senior living.

Pet friendly living at Country Meadows

With research demonstrating that seniors benefit from regular animals, Country Meadows offers pet friendly senior living at each of its nine locations in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact us today to request information or to schedule a visit to meet our residents-human, canine, feline and avian! We look forward to meeting you.

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