For many people, one of the day’s biggest joys is opening the door to be greeted by wagging tails, wiggly behinds and whimpers of joy from our pets. If you have a pet, you know the special relationships that can form with furry, feathered and finned friends. And we return the love. Last year, Americans spent nearly $104 billion on their pets.
Many retirement communities, including Country Meadows, are pet-friendly. Pets are welcome to move in with their humans, and campuses have house pets for residents and co-workers to love and enjoy. Animals can provide a special connection to help alleviate loneliness, especially for older adults living in a retirement community who may have lost a spouse or loved one. Kathryn and her cat, Lexi, both Country Meadows residents, agree. “I enjoy having Lexi here with me; she’s company. In fact she fills a void,” says Kathryn. “If I didn’t have her here, I would be lost.” The pair enjoy a tight relationship; the cat rarely leaves Kathryn’s side. They sit together, sleep together and when Kathryn leaves for dinner, Lexi waits for her by the door.
Animals can have numerous therapeutic benefits for seniors living in a retirement community in addition to curing loneliness. Science shows that animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and, since keeping a pet can offer seniors a way to create and maintain a healthy routine and schedule, pet ownership tends to increase social interaction and physical activity while reducing symptoms of depression. The responsibility of caring for an animal provides a sense of purpose—a reason to get up in the morning and to be needed. Scientists have completed numerous studies that explore the way animals contribute to better health in humans, particularly older adults. Click here for links to several of these studies.
As we age it may become more difficult to care for pets due to health issues, or finding a reliable pet-sitter when on vacation or during a hospital stay. Many retirement communities recognize the value of pets for people. To help seniors continue to care for their pets, personal care communities may offer pet programs to help older adults continue to care for their fur kids. Country Meadows’s Pet Care Program offers services including walking pets, filling bowls, changing litter, administering medications and coordinating grooming and veterinary appointments. Basically, providing nearly everything an animal needs to remain happy and healthy while living with his/her human.
One retirement community resident appreciates the service. “They help take my dog out and that sort of thing. At my age, I don’t think I could handle that by myself.” A Pet Care Coordinator at Country Meadows says her favorite part of the day is walking her canine clients. The residents appreciate the service. “The dogs enjoy it. This was a bad winter, and [the residents] didn’t feel that they needed to go out in the cold and risk falling on the ice because I could walk the dogs.”
“God made [animals] for us, says Kathryn, reiterating that pets are good company. “When you have a pet, you’re not alone. It feels good to look after her and have that responsibility, a purpose.” Are you or an older loved one who lives in a retirement community ready for a pet? It is a big decision which should not be taken lightly. This article.
Country Meadows has nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus location in Frederick, Maryland. Often referred to as one of the best independent living communities in the area, we offer a wide range of services to serve a variety of resident needs. The services within our independent living communities include restorative care, rehabilitation, personal care and assisted living, memory support and independent living. If you or a loved one are beginning the retirement planning journey and would like more information about our independent living communities, please contact us today.