Surprising Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Senior Living Community

February 16, 2024

Surprising Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Senior Living Community

It's common for a pet owner to call their furry friend a family member. Pets are precious companions that bring a person much love and happiness. And while pets are a great idea at any age, they offer notable benefits to seniors in Independent Living. Let's look at some surprising advantages pet-friendly senior living communities provide.  

1. Opportunities for Socializing

A pet is your social companion, acting as your friend as you take care of chores, go throughout your day and relax at home. 

But it doesn't stop there! Your pet can prompt new socializing opportunities. Walking your dog or taking them to the park often opens the door for conversations with strangers. This is especially important for seniors, who can sometimes struggle to find ways to meet new people. Whether it’s during pet-friendly events, or casual encounters in the common areas, having pets creates shared interests and conversations.

2. Encourages a More Active Lifestyle

Staying active is vital for a senior's overall health, as it can help strengthen the muscles, support overall health and reduce the risk of a fall. And owning a pet is a great way to ensure daily activity. Your dog will need a few walks outdoors each day and appreciate a little playtime, and many cats will engage in some form of play as well. Even mealtime or cleaning a litter box encourages getting up and about. 

If you haven't been overly active to this point, you can start slow. Take your dog for short, 10-minute walks three to four times a day. As you develop your stamina, you can change your schedule to incorporate one to two longer walks per day. 

3. Exploring the Surrounding Area

Speaking of taking your pet for a walk … this forced daily activity will also get you exploring your surrounding area. You might otherwise not take the time to walk around your neighborhood. But this is a fantastic activity that allows you to see everything that your area has to offer. 

4. Pet Owners Are Often Happier and Less Lonely  

Many studies have shown that pets are great for your mental health. Some benefits of pet ownership include decreased stress, lower blood pressure, reduced loneliness, improved mood and increased feelings of social support

This is incredibly notable for seniors who often struggle with feelings of loneliness, depression and health ailments. But a fur best friend helps. A pet loves its owner unconditionally. Additionally, a pet can give a senior a sense of purpose again, as it relies entirely on its owner for food, shelter and love. 

5. Pets Can Improve Overall Health

A systematic review of 16 studies found that a positive mindset can speed up the recovery process after an injury or health problem. And a furry friend can play a significant role in helping an owner with a bright outlook on the future. A University of Michigan study of seniors with pets reported that more than 75% of participants reported their pets help to reduce stress. The study also found that seniors felt their pets helped them cope with their physical and emotional symptoms. 

What Are the Best Pets for Seniors?

Seniors should put some thought into the type of pet they get. Factors such as size (and the ability to lift the pet), exercise needs, property limitations and restrictions on pets, and food cost are all essential to consider. 

Here are some of the most common pet choices for seniors:

  • Dogs

  • Bichon Frise

  • Boston terrier

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Poodle

  • French bulldog

  • Pomeranian

  • Miniature schnauzer

  • Pug

  • Yorkshire terrier

  • Cats

  • American shorthair

  • Birman

  • British shorthair

  • Chartreux

  • Himalayan

  • Persian

  • Siberian

  • Birds

  • Canary

  • Cockatiel

  • Lovebird

  • Parakeet

A pet is usually a long, multiyear commitment, so finding a well-suited match is important. 

Independent Living at Royal Oaks Includes Furry Friends

While other communities remain pet-free, Royal Oaks welcomes and recognizes all the benefits pets provide to our Independent Living residents. This means that you no longer have to choose between having a loving pet and great living options during your retirement!

Contact Royal Oaks today to find out more details about our pet-friendly policy. Schedule a tour, or call 623-208-6621 for more information.

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