The Significant Benefits of Animals on Seniors

Seasons residents pets

Seasons Retirement Communities understands that pets are essential to their residents’ extended families. When someone moves in, they want the new resident to feel comfortable at their new home, which is why their communities are pet-friendly. Seasons never expects residents to choose between living at home or their beloved pets. Residents are asked to ensure their pet’s behaviour is well-suited for a community-style living environment. This means the pet must be good with people and other animals and not interfere with neighbouring residents’ quiet enjoyment of their home.

Some communities have even adopted animals together, allowing them to live permanently in the home. Seasons Clarington has a rabbit as a community pet. “He has a great personality and was truly made for retirement living. We had a contest to name him, and the residents decided on Mr. Nibbles,” laughs Fun Manager Laura Sleeman. “He loves to get out, greet residents, and even join our activities.” General Manager Stephanie Waldron at Seasons Ponoka even helped a resident adopt a dog she had connected with at a local shelter. The home greeted the new furry companion with a welcome basket of treats, toys, and a Seasons-branded leash!

Many Seasons homes offer access to animal-assisted pet therapy or pet-visiting programs, which have been shown to have physical and mental health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and increasing happiness and comfort. These activities can also encourage social interaction, communication, and a shared sense of community within group settings. Residents have happily spent time connected with dogs, donkeys, and llamas.


Here are a handful of the many benefits of spending quality time with an animal:


  1. They keep you fit

All breeds of dogs need daily walks to stay happy and healthy, as do humans. Dog owners tend to be more active because they must ensure their pets get regular exercise. On days when they might want to skip a walk, seniors will get up and go because their dog needs to get outside. Regular exercise can help decrease blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce stress levels. Some studies even show a reduced need for medication for people from petting a dog or cat, which produces an automated release of calming hormones.


  1. They lower your stress levels

Stress can lead to numerous health problems. Seniors who own pets are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression. Previous studies have proven that pet owners tend to have lower triglyceride (a type of fat, called lipid, that circulate in the blood) levels than people who don’t own a pet. That means having a four-legged pal can even decrease the chances of suffering a heart attack.


  1. They make sure you’re never lonely

Cats and dogs make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home, and they’ll be happy to lend a paw when you’ve had a difficult day. They provide seniors with someone to talk to, a companion by their side daily. Having a furry friend at their feet or on their lap offers a valuable source of comfort. A dog or cat provides stability, routine, and purpose.


  1. They can help you make friends

The pet owner community is incredibly friendly – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog while on a walk. Having a pet is an excellent way for seniors to meet new people and create bonds quickly, especially if you’re not too good at small talk.


  1. They make you feel connected

Retirement communities often schedule regular visits from therapy dogs or other animals. These animals are evaluated to ensure an appropriate temperament and that they are adaptable to various environments for everyone’s safety. Therapy animals can bring excitement and happiness to those who can’t care for their pets. Some of the animals perform tricks to the delight of the residents. Others are brought in to give and receive love while petting or playing a quiet game of fetch.

Animals offer a wide array of benefits to seniors. People concerned about enhancing their quality of life and longevity can consider providing a home for an animal to meet this need. When researching senior housing options for yourself or a loved one, ask about the pet policy and if they offer animal-assisted therapy or pet visits. If you are searching for a retirement home for yourself or a loved one, please click the Locations tab on our website and connect with the Seasons location nearest you for more information.

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.