October 18, 2016

retirement-communities-pet-therapyMore and more retirement communities today are recognizing the benefits of pet therapy. Here are some things to consider if you’re interested in retiring with your furry friend: 

Benefits of Pet Ownership

Anyone who has ever had a beloved pet knows the benefits of living with an animal companion. It turns out that science backs this up, as spending just 15 minutes with a pet has been shown to reduce stress and increase the production of serotonin, a key hormone in making us feel good. Pet companions have been beneficial in treating people with depression, PTSD, and those recovering from illness and injury.

Retiring with your Pet

Many retirement communities have embraced pet therapy, and even encourage residents to bring pets with them. Each retirement community has its own pet policies, so be sure to ask about any restrictions before you plan your move. Even if your retirement community doesn’t allow the type of pet you would prefer, the good news is that many facilitate visits from therapy animals from local shelters. At Bethany Village, dogs from SICSA, a local animal shelter, visit residents every Saturday.

Coordinating Pet Care

Caring for pets can be a struggle as you get older. It’s important to ensure that you are still able to care for your animal companion. Can you still provide the love and compassion your pet craves? Does your pet have the right energy level and personality for retirement community living? Are you able to afford to care for them? If you have concerns about keeping up with your pet’s feeding, grooming, and vaccination schedules, ask your community if they have a Pet Care Coordinator onsite who can ensure that your pet or the pet that your loved one brings to the community is well cared for.

Planning for the Future

We tend to outlast our pets, but what happens if something were to suddenly happen to you? If you experienced a long illness, who would take care of your pet? Have a plan in place for the care of your pet. Discuss their care with your loved ones and the staff at your retirement community to ensure your wishes are followed.