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The Benefits of Pet Companionship for Older Adults

What’s more valuable than a faithful friend? When we face life’s challenges, it’s our friends who pick us up and support us, and friendship becomes even more important as we age. When we experience illnesses, loneliness, mobility difficulties, fatigue, and other age-related health and wellness issues, we can always lean on our friends. And as any pet guardian can tell you, our best friends aren’t always human.

Pet Companions in Senior Living Communities

Often, when older adults move to an assisted living community, they’re forced to part with their pets. It’s a devastating decision to make in an already difficult time. At The Club at Boynton Beach, we welcome pets with open paws. We appreciate the deep bond between humans and their pets, so we strongly encourage our residents to bring along their four-legged friend.

Our receptive pet policy stems not only from our own love of animals but from research on health and wellness. Studies show that the connection between seniors and pets has plenty of positive mental, emotional, and physical benefits.

The Power of Pets, Backed by Science

Dogs, in particular, can reduce anxiety, ease loneliness, and inspire seniors to be more physically active and socially engaged – all things that promote a healthy heart. According to UCLA research, just a few hours with an animal can help alleviate depression and loneliness. Quality time with a pet can even lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. And the benefits don’t stop there. The same study concluded that pet companionship can diminish physical pain, encourage relaxation, reduce medication intake, and improve emotional recall. Did you know that a pet can even be trained to alert its owners to health problems before they become life-threatening?

The physical benefits of pet companionship are far-reaching, too. Dog guardians, studies have found, get more physical activity than people who don’t have dogs. Why? Because most dogs require regular exercise, and walking is the most common form of exercise for people over age 60.

“Dog walking is associated with lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, more frequent exercise and an increase in social benefits for seniors,” noted a study conducted by University of Missouri Health.

Rebecca Johnson, a professor at the University of Missouri and director of its Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, also said, “Retirement communities also could be encouraged to incorporate more pet-friendly policies such as including dog walking trails and dog exercise areas so that their residents could have access to the health benefits.” We wholeheartedly embrace that philosophy. That’s why our canine residents have complete access to their own private dog run, conveniently located near our beautiful interior courtyard, flush with plant life, flowers, trees, and a waterfall.

Cats and Dogs Can Join The Club, Too

Physical exercise is crucial to a brain-healthy lifestyle, so grab a leash and get moving with a faithful companion at your side. And if for any reason you’re not a dog person, then curl up with a cat. Felines are welcome at The Club as well. No matter the pet, its unconditional love and companionship can add years to your life.

To see for yourself how we celebrate pets at our holistic senior living community in beautiful South Florida, stop by for a tour (and feel free to bring your pooch). Contact us today to learn how you and your pet can thrive and bond for years to come at The Club at Boynton Beach.