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The Perks of Pet Ownership for Older People

Older couple with two dogsOne of life’s greatest joys comes in the form of our pets. Considered by many as just another member of the family, pets can add happiness and silliness to our lives each day.

Did you know, though, that pets can improve our overall health and well-being? Especially for older people, pet ownership can have valuable health benefits that prolong and enhance life.

That’s why at The Village at Germantown we welcome pets in our independent living community. We even have our own Golden Retriever, Sally, who greets visitors and regularly seeks head scratches from our residents. We believe that animals can be highly therapeutic; their comforting presence and sweet demeanors can brighten any mood.

Wonder how having a pet can improve your or a loved one’s life? Here are 5 of the top reasons pets can make a positive impact on an older person:

Companionship

First and foremost, animals provide an unconditional love and friendship that is meaningful for people of any age. In older age, as social circles dwindle and change, companionship that is consistent and reliable can make a big difference.

By coming home each day and being greeted by a pet, older people feel a sense of family and friendship that makes everyday life a little more enjoyable.

Caring

Studies show that older adults who have a job or someone to care for improves their quality of life. By filling the day with purpose and intent, we are more likely to feel that life is meaningful and worthwhile.

With rising cases of depression and anxiety in older people, the ability to care for a happy little creature can make the tough times a bit lighter. The nurturing and responsibility that is essential to pet ownership gives older adults an outlet to channel their energy and worries.

Play

As part of caring for our pets (at least the four-legged ones), exercise and playtime is essential. Whether you take your dog on a walk or dangle a toy for your cat, a little interactivity keeps everyone happy.

Even with pets that do not require as much activity – like birds or fish – there is still a degree of movement and exercise that is involved with basic care. From cleaning after pets to engaging with them, there is always a way that a pet can encourage activity and excitement.

Calming

Animals can also provide a soothing, calming presence. Again, with higher levels of anxiety and uncertainty, many older adults can benefit from a pet’s ability to calm their worries.

Pets are known for a therapeutic effect in many ways. Watching fish swim or petting a sleepy cat can give worried minds and nervous hands a place to place their focus.

Especially for older people who experience loneliness, a pet’s presence can make these times feel less lonely and isolated. Instead of feeling the effects of loneliness – such as insomnia, panic, or sadness – older people can feel a steady, calming warmth from their pets.

Joy

More than anything, a sweet pet can bring a profound joy to life. A bird who sings, a dog who snuggles, or a cat who purrs can all make their owners smile. Plus, pets are a great reminder to embrace the silly moments life can bring. Their funny personalities, little quirks, and surprising tricks keep owners laughing and enjoying each day together.

Our Pet-Friendly Retirement Community

At The Village at Germantown, we believe that pets aren’t just companions to their owners, they are family. By joining us at The Village, pets bring an element of fun and happiness to each day in our community.

Our independent living apartments, along with our beautiful grounds, are the perfect spaces for pets to live, play, and better the lives of their owners. We want our residents to feel completely at home here – and the addition of a pet can make all the difference. If you are interested in learning more about our pet-friendly community, call us today.

Posted by Carrie Atkins at 8:31 AM

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Our goal at The Village at Germantown is to provide you with a lifetime home, a wonderful address where you can truly have the time of your life. Here, you can follow a seamless path of wellness incorporating physical fitness, nutrition, and social integration – essential components for successful aging.

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