Five amazing health benefits of pets for seniors

By December 24, 2018health, retirement, seniors
Pet Friendly Retirement Village

Companionship. Unconditional love. Endless entertainment. These are just some of the benefits of pet ownership and why demand for pet friendly retirement villages is increasing.

Pets make wonderful companions during all stages of life, but did you know they offer some specific benefits for seniors?

Studies have shown that seniors who own pets are more likely to experience the following health benefits:

    • Improved alertness: Pets rely on their owners for care and attention, so seniors who own pets may feel more alert than those who don’t.
    • Lower blood pressure: The simple act of petting a dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure.
    • Increased physical activity: Pets (especially dogs) encourage seniors to keep active through play, daily walks, and cleaning.
    • Increased social interaction: Pet owners often have more opportunities to socialise, such as mingling with other pet owners, venturing out of the house for walks, or even visiting the vet.
    • Improved morale: Pets have been shown to improve people’s overall mood and reduce symptoms of depression and loneliness.

Dr Marvin McBride, a geriatrician based in the United States, told UNC Health Care that pets may even alter brain chemistry in seniors.

“Basically, when looking at the neurotransmitter expression of someone interacting with a pet, they are seeing an increase in oxytocin, which is something that you also see when mums nurse their babies and when people are in love,” explains Dr McBride [source: UNC Health Care].

Pet-friendly retirement living

Finding a place to downsize that allows pets can be difficult. Many retirement communities won’t allow pets of any kind, and some places will only allow pets in certain property types.

But all hope is not lost; pet-friendly retirement villages do exist. If pet ownership in retirement is important to you, make sure to ask village managers about their pet policy when you visit.

Here are some questions to keep front-of-mind as you search for the perfect village:

  • Does the village allow you to buy new pets or only bring existing pets?
  • Are young pets allowed, such as a new puppy or kitten?
  • Are pets allowed in all property types throughout the village?

It’s also a good idea to think about your pet’s lifestyle in a village, especially if you have a dog.

For example, is there an off-leash area on site or nearby for dogs to run around? Is your pet suited to apartment-style living (if that’s the only option available)? If you have a cat, will it be okay staying inside at night if there are nature reserves nearby?

Eleebana Shores: A pet-friendly retirement village in NSW

Some retirement villages tick all the pet-friendly boxes – like Eleebana Shores in NSW.

Eleebana Shores Retirement Village actively encourages pet ownership due to the overwhelming benefits that pets can offer people during their senior years.

When you move into to Eleebana, you can bring nearly any common pet to live with you. You’re also welcome to buy a new pet once you arrive.

Once you’re settled into the community, you may like to arrange on-site vet visits with other owners to share the cost and make the practicalities of owning a pet even easier.

At Eleebana Shores, your furry friends will be made to feel like part of the community, so you can enjoy all the benefits of retirement village living without saying goodbye to your beloved pets. To find out what homes are currently available, give our Village Manager a call on 1800 732 654.