Many of us have owned a furry friend who has changed our lives. Whether it’s a dog or a cat, we are often drawn to pets because they provide a unique sense of comfort and companionship. As we age, seniors can continue to benefit from owning a pet.

Pets are known to reduce stress, increase the secretion of serotonin, the “happy” hormone, and decrease symptoms of depression, which can surface when seniors are suffering from feelings of loneliness. Pets need exercise just like seniors do, so walking a dog can provide the physical activity that both an aging senior and their pet need. Walking a pet also encourages seniors to get outside and enjoy the beauty that surrounds them while caring for their animal.

Often times, seniors find a renewed sense of purpose when they become a pet owner. Pets require a routine and may provide a welcomed sense of structure in a senior’s day. And, a new dog, for example, can be a great way for seniors to connect socially with other dog owners. Investing in a pet means proactively engaging with another living being, which can prove to be immensely satisfying for a senior whose social circle may be limited.

Sometimes, it becomes difficult for a senior to properly care for their pet. It might become increasingly challenging to pick up after a pet or bend down to feed them. Those affected with memory impairment might forget to feed their animal or administer medication prescribed by the vet. Often times, seniors need to make the difficult decision to give up a beloved pet because they can no longer live independently. However, many retirement communities welcome pets and offer assistance with caring for their residents’ animals to ensure that they are receiving the attention that they need and residents do not have to part with their pet when they make the life-changing decision to move.

When considering a retirement community for yourself or a loved one, it is always a good idea to ask about their pet policy. Questions pertaining to breed restrictions, weight limits and pet deposits are important to pose ahead of time so that you know the choices you can make about bringing a new furry friend into your life in your retirement years.

Oakmont Senior Living offers luxurious senior living ranging from retirement living, assisted living and memory care. Oakmont recognizes the benefits of pets for seniors; all of our senior living communities are pet-friendly. In addition to a welcoming pet policy, our residents enjoy five-star amenities and customized care services. To learn more and find a community near you, visit our Oakmont Community Locator.