For the millions of seniors across the country who live independently, life can quickly become lonely, stressful and even painful.
And while there are medications one can take to help with these feelings, scientific research has proven the many benefits seniors can enjoy by living with a pet. By simply living with a companion animal, whether it’s a cat, dog or other animal, people are instantly less stressed, lonely and sad.
In response to these findings, Orchard Pointe Assisted Living and Memory Support in Surprise has begun to allow its residents to own a furry or feathered friend; it’s one of a growing number of senior living communities to encourage pet ownership. Orchard Pointe doesn’t even charge a monthly pet fee.
“Not only does the pet provide companionship, but it also stimulates socialization amongst the owner and other residents,” Dawn Miller, executive director for Orchard Pointe, told YourWestValley.com.
And when 71% of independent senior living communities are located in the suburbs, owning a pet is a great way for residents to stay active and healthy by taking their four-legged friends for a walk around the block.
“It provides a source of conversation and also keeps the resident more active with the day-to-day care of the animal,” Miller said.
Seniors aren’t the only ones who benefit from pet ownership. Because older adults have more free time and undivided attention to devote to their pets, the pets themselves gain a lot of love. For the majority of senior pet owners, a pet isn’t just an animal — a pet is a family member.
Orchard Pointe isn’t the only senior community to acknowledge the benefits of pet ownership. According to CitizensVoice.com, about 40% of senior living communities in the U.S. now allow their residents to own a pet; just a decade ago, very few communities would have allowed this.
“I’ve been in this business for 26 years, and during the last seven to 10 years, I have noticed that the retirement dream for many clients is still drinking a piña colada on the beach, but now they see a Lab next to them,” said Richard Rosso, a certified financial planner in Houston.