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Pet-Friendly Living: The Benefits of Companionship in Senior Years

Better cognitive function. Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Reduced feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Wow! Imagine a medicine that can positively impact multiple bodily systems at once.  

Now use that imagination to think outside the bottle, because this is one miracle drug you won’t find in the pharmacy.It’s more likely to be found cuddled in your lap.

That’s right. This scientifically proven, tried and true, feel-good therapy is of the furry, four-legged kind.

Pet parenting comes with some obvious benefits - like unconditional love and affection. And, of course, there is the cuteness factor. But for seniors, partnering with a pet can enhance overall health and wellbeing in a host of other ways as well.   

Stress Relief

One of the major health benefits of pets for seniors is stress relief. Studies show that petting a dog decreases the stress hormone, cortisol. Lowering cortisol levels helps decrease blood pressure and overall stress.

Sense of Purpose

Caring for a pet can boost self-esteem and make seniors feel needed. Your pet’s walks and meals will also create a routine that will give each day a sense of purpose. Putting another living being’s needs ahead of your own can uplift the spirit.

Social Interaction

Dogs are people magnets. You and your dog will be a dynamic duo that will attract other dog owners and non-pet owners alike. Every stroll around the ‘hood can be a new opportunity to expand your social circle. If you are lucky enough to live in one of Overture’s pet friendly senior apartment communities, both you and your beloved furry friend will easily find your social footing.

Exercise

When your dog’s gotta go, it's gotta go. There is no better way to get you up and out multiple times a day, rain or shine, than walking your dog. Spending time walking with your favorite companion will enhance brain health, help with weight control, improve both cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. 

And you thought you were just taking the dog for a walk.  

Once you rightsize into the Overture pet friendly senior apartment community of your choice, the walks with your four- legged friend can lead you right to “Yappy Hour.” Doggy can enjoy a “Puppaccino,” while you mix and mingle with your human friends. 

Your Pet and Your Apartment

It’s important to prepare your apartment living space for your pet’s arrival. Make sure to eliminate any access to toxic substances, including plants that may be harmful to animals. Keep any chewable temptations safely stowed out of reach. Breakable items need to be out of range of wagging tails. They don’t mean to knock things over. But if they can reach them, they will.

Think about setting up a special space for your dog to safely chill out. Include a comfy bed, toys, food, water, and - if your pet is crate trained - their crate. 

Adopt a Pet

If the time is right for you to commit to pet adoption, there are agencies ready to help. One such organization is The Pets for the Elderly (PFE). With participating shelters nationwide, PFE provides companionship to seniors through pet ownership.

The only question left to answer is: Will you be rightsizing into an Overture active adult community with or without a furry friend? Either way, take your finger off the, um…paws button and arrange a tour today.