When you are considering your retirement future, you most likely want to be sure there will be room for one of your very best friends: your pet. Pet-friendly senior living communities are the answer.
At St. Mark Village in Palm Harbor, Florida, we welcome your pet, because we know wellness is about more than eating vegetables or getting in your steps, it’s about surrounding yourself with positive, loving energy—very good for you.
How pet-friendly senior living can benefit you
Many senior living communities have a “community pet,” usually a dog that acts as a mascot for the community, but in reality it’s playing several roles: friend, listener, counselor, companion, and more.
More and more senior living communities are pet-friendly, recognizing the many important health benefits that animal companions can offer their senior owners. For example, according to Aging.com, over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.
Here are some other benefits, offered by Cleveland Clinic:
Pets take away the stress. Petting a dog decreases cortisol, which in turn helps lower blood pressure and thus takes away much of the stress. Even talking to your pet can make you feel good, by reducing your anxiety or worries. You feel better knowing there’s a being in your presence that is hearing you—even if they’re staring at their food bowl!
Pets make you feel needed. There’s a wonderful bonus that comes from taking care of a warm and fuzzy creature who really does depend upon you for everything. So many older adults have cared for children, parents, and yes, pets, for years. Then, at least with children, it feels like everyone has “left the nest” and is gone, and an empty feeling can follow.
But a pet, whether it has four feet, feathers, gills or slithers on the ground, needs you, which can feel very good. Another bonus of pet-friendly senior living.
Download our free guide, Just The Facts: Your Guide to Independent Living.
A pet gets you up each morning and gives you a purpose. Rise and shine and feed your kitty! Just knowing your pet is waiting for you to supply breakfast can help you maintain a routine and give you something to look forward to each day. Having a purpose is a fundamental aspect of healthy aging.
Pets rev up your social life. It’s hard to be lonely when you have a pet, not only because of the companionship your pet offers you, but the conversations and contact you will have with other pet owners if you choose pet-friendly senior living. Whether you’re out walking your dog or sharing tips with another person who’s crazy about turtles, you have common ground on which to build a new friendship. Nothing is a better conversation-starter than a cute pet!
A pet keeps you active. It’s hard to sit still when you have a pet. You walk your dog. You play with your cat. You feed your fish. All examples of how you are moving your muscles each day and staying active. It’s good for them—and you!
Pets can help you stay healthy. According to the American Heart Association, owning pets is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease. The reason for this could be that healthier people are more likely to be pet owners, or that people with pets tend to exercise more.
There’s also growing evidence that being around a pet can help you heal faster. According to The New York Times, a Japanese study found pet owners made 30 percent fewer visits to doctors, while a Melbourne study showed that owners of dogs and other pets had lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart attack risk compared with people who didn’t have pets. No wonder pet-friendly senior living is so popular.
It doesn’t have to be a dog
- Unlike dogs, cats are happy staying indoors all the time. And as American Humane points out, adult cats require only 20 to 30 minutes of playtime per day. Cats are also very content to spend most of their time sleeping on their owner’s lap or bed.
- Freshwater aquarium fish are the most popular pet in the U.S. (139 million nationwide.) Watching aquarium fish can decrease a person’s heart rate, increase skin temperature, and decrease muscle tension.
- Birds are also a popular choice, especially cockatiels, parrots and other birds who can mimic human speech.
Pet-friendly senior living offers you significant health benefits
Less stress, a sense of purpose, a reason to be active and more—having a pet leads to countless wellness benefits, and of course, friendship! As a pet-friendly senior living community, at St. Mark Village, we are here to support you in every way. And that includes wellness of the body, mind, and spirit, as well as seamless access to future care options. We’d love to tell you more!