People have had pets for thousands of years since early humans “adopted” wild animals. Over time they became domesticated, were bred for specific qualities, and today are the much-loved family pets so many welcome into their homes and lives. For seniors, being a pet parent can have benefits that go beyond a loving lick or steadfast companionship. That’s why pet-friendly senior living communities like Sonrisa Senior Living are so popular.
We know the benefits of pet ownership add so much to our residents quality of life and well-being it only makes sense to include them in our pet-friendly senior living community.
Positive health impacts of owning a pet
Pet owners know how much their animals add to their life, but many may not realize their furballs may actually help keep them healthy. According to the American Heart Association, pets may play a role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol which can lower risk of heart disease. More specifically, a Swedish study reported on in the Harvard Health article, “Dog owners: Less heart disease and longer life?” found single dog owners saw an 11% lower risk of heart attack and a 33% lower risk of dying during the 12-year study.
Positive mental health impacts of owning a pet
The social and often spiritual connection people have with their pets also has numerous mental health benefits. With just a wag of their tail and cocked head, pets bring joy, laughter, and love into senior’s lives which is especially important for those who live alone.
According to the Psychology Today article, “Why Canine Companions Are Good for Our Health” dogs are among the best therapists for relieving stress and anxiety as well as loneliness and depression simply because they offer unconditional, non-judgmental love and presence whenever it is needed. The positive psychology.com article, “Pets & Mental Health: 15 Benefits of Emotional Support Animals,” also notes that just playing with pets increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones associated with feeling calm and relaxed, and the simple act of hugging or petting an animal can almost instantly relieve those feelings of stress and anxiety.
That’s where pet-friendly senior living communities build a bridge for older adults to move to a wonderful community and bring their pets along. Many have special areas like dog parks, walking paths, and dog washing stations so pet owners and their pets have all the room and amenities they need to live a carefree lifestyle.
Regular physical activity
Another reason pet-friendly senior living communities invite pets into their lives is that seniors who have pets are likely to get more exercise walking, running, and playing with their pets. Pet owners want their pets to stay happy and healthy, so they make sure to exercise them every day, and in the process get a workout too! According to the American Celiac Association’s article, “The Real Benefits of Walking Your Dog,” a good walk helps burn calories, reduce stress and blood pressure, improve cognitive performance, boost the immune system, and enhance feelings of well-being.
Even those who live in pet-friendly senior living communities but don’t own a pet can benefit from being with other residents’ pets by joining them for a walk, playing Frisbee or fetch, or just petting them now and again. Find out more in the nextavenue.com article, “The Benefits of Pet-Friendly Retirement Communities.”
Socialization is essential to healthy aging and pets can be a conduit for making friends. As noted in our blog, “How Social Connections Support Successful Aging,” getting older also means that over time friends move or pass away increasing the risk of isolation and loneliness. Pet-friendly senior living communities offer residents with pets many opportunities to meet fellow pet owners and animal lovers every day, and also help pets stay social as well. Just getting out with others (two- and four-footed) helps seniors to feel a sense of belonging, a feeling that they are part of a larger community and all the benefits that come with that. And for those who tend to be less social, pet-friendly senior living communities can be the perfect solution as described in our blog, “Introverts and Senior Living: Why It’s a Surprisingly Good Fit.”
Our pets are some of the best and most loving “people” we will ever know so it’s not surprising that so many seniors want to bring their pets with them to pet-friendly senior living communities like Sonrisa.
Contact us today to learn more about our luxury senior living community, housing options and amenities for all of our residents and their furry friends.
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