Transitioning to a nursing home or assisted living facility is never an easy change. This can be especially true for someone who has lived in the same home for decades. Having beloved pets to care for can further complicate matters. It’s important to find a pet-friendly home that is happy to accommodate both seniors and their furry companions.
Aside from companionship, animals give the feeling of home and comfort. And for something as dramatic as moving into assisted living, keeping one’s pet is critical. According to A Place For Mom, facilities exist across the United States that will care for both a senior requiring assistance, as well as their pet. These facilities understand how pets can play a key role in overall health and wellness. Some facilities even have a Pet Care Coordinator at their communities to oversee general pet health, vaccines and veterinary care. (5)
Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors
According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging survey of adults aged 50-80, 79% of senior pet parents claimed their furry four-legged (feathered or finned) friends helped reduce stress. With more than 40% of seniors experiencing loneliness on a regular basis, seniors are encouraged to adopt pets to improve their well-being. (1,2)
The survey concluded that 72% of seniors claimed their pets helped with their emotional and physical problems. Surprisingly, it was recorded that pets also helped seniors stick to a routine – with 73% stating their pets gave them a sense of purpose and structure for their days.
Spreading awareness of the elderly owning pets, Psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld states, “I’ve seen those with memory loss interact with an animal and regain access to memories from long ago. Having a pet helps the senior focus on something other than their physical problems and negative preoccupations about loss or aging.” (3) It was also noted that pets keep aging adults active, reduce stress, and assist in boosting connection with others. (1)
Retirement is a time in life to slow down and relish in the rewards of your hard work and spending quality time with everything life has to offer. Having a pet to share the later years in life can not only enhance your retirement but increase your overall physical and emotional well-being