It's not always easy for senior citizens to find independent senior housing communities that allow pets -- or a pet-friendly community that has available apartments. Nevertheless, if you have a beloved dog or cat, don't give up on your dream of bringing your companion animal with you when you move. You may feel discouraged at the moment and may have even considered giving your pet to a family member you trust. You're fortunate to have that option, but there are good reasons to stand your ground and keep your pet.
Being More Active
Whether it involves walking a dog or playing games with a cat, seniors are likely to stay more active when they have a pet. Many dogs and cats benefit from regular brushing, and they love the attention. Dog owners also need to clean up outside after the dog relieves itself. With a cat, there's a litter pan to deal with.
Even on days when the pet owner doesn't feel particularly motivated, the animal still needs attention. It must get food and fresh water, and it probably wants some petting and affection.
Having Better Health
Being more active tends to keep people healthier in general. In addition, having a pet as a senior citizen is associated with:
- lower blood pressure
- lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
- fewer trips to the doctor
- fewer and shorter hospital stays
Enjoying Constant Companionship
Even if you're not a lonely person, the constant companionship of a pet is great for you emotionally. Pets offer friendship and unconditional love, and they adore their owners. When you're having a rough day, you know that your companion animal will be a comfort. When you're having a wonderful day, your pet shares your sense of joy.
In addition, having the opportunity to provide daily care for a pet is good for your mental health. You know that this animal relies on you for virtually everything, giving you an added sense of responsibility and self-confidence.
For all these reasons -- and the fact that you love your pet -- continue looking for independent senior housing where you can have your companion animal. You may need to be on a waiting list for a while, but that wait will be worth it. Ask communities that currently don't allow pets to let you know if they change the policy. With the increasing understanding of advantages for seniors who own pets, more senior communities are likely to allow the practice.
Talk to a housing service like Carriage Oaks Retirement Community about other ways you can stay healthy when moving into senior housing.