Why pets are so good for seniors’ health and happiness

April 11 is National Pet Day,* a day that organizers encourage pet owners to:

  • Donate supplies to pets in shelters
  • Help a friend with a pet who is recovering from an illness
  • Check your pet’s health, including vaccinations
  • Adopt a pet

While the last suggestion of adopting a pet is a step not to be taken lightly, a recent survey reported that almost one million Canadians acquired a pet over the past two years who didn’t have one before. Staying home during the pandemic encouraged people to acquire a critter, many discovering that pets improved the quality of their lives and brought them joy.*

For older adults, a pet can have numerous benefits. Seniors with a pet report they enjoy feeling needed and love the companionship that a dog, cat, bird, fish, or reptile brings. Their pet also makes them feel valued, and even safe. *

Research also shows that older adults with pets can enjoy a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and stress. Pets encourage seniors to remain both physically and socially active, maintaining a sense of purpose and motivation to socialize with others. *

Some older adults may hesitate to acquire a pet, worrying about what will happen if they move to a seniors residence. However, many retirement residences are now pet friendly. Some newer ones even offer a pet bathing/grooming station!

New residents with pets often find their animal companions make it easier to transition to a new home, finding comfort and stability in caring for their pet. And there’s no doubt that a furry companion offers an opportunity to meet other residents.

If you’re shopping for a retirement community and want to bring your beloved furry or feathered friend, consider finding out the terms and conditions of pet ownership. These may include size restrictions and a pet management plan, which asks you to designate a pet sitter if needed.

If you’re thinking about moving to a pet-friendly seniors’ community, where you can also enjoy conveniences such as dining options, onsite activities, and the availability of personal support as your needs change, call 1-855-461-0685 to learn more about retirement living at Chartwell.