Why Dog-Friendly Senior Living Communities are On the Rise

Senior living communities

A growing number of senior living communities are changing a long-standing policy against companion animals — and are now welcoming residents’ dogs into their communities.

According to a feature in the December 2014 issue of Dog Fancy, independent living for seniors can often be incredibly lonely, especially for seniors living in their own apartment. This, combined with a growing understanding of how dogs can physically and mentally benefit their owners, has led many senior living facilities to change their policies.

Now, approximately 64% of the nation’s 20,000 or so assisted living facilities and communities allow residents to own a pet, according to Dog Fancy.

Some senior independent living communities are even allowing group-pet adoption — which allows a group of seniors to help spread out the responsibilities of caring for a pet between themselves and share the pet’s companionship.

Numerous studies have revealed just how beneficial owning a companion animal like a dog can be for humans — and these benefits are only strengthened as we age. According to Dog Fancy, retirement facilities that allow residents to own dogs report having a higher rate of healthy residents.

This is because owning a pet helps fight depression, promotes socialization, reduces one’s stress and anxiety and instills a sense of purpose. Having an animal companion can also lower an individual’s cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and heart rate and subsequently decrease the amount of doctor visits one will need to make.

Allowing pets into senior living communities doesn’t just benefit the seniors who live there — it also gives abandoned and homeless animals a loving home when they might otherwise be left on the street, in an animal shelter or even euthanized, Dog Fancy reports.

Does your senior community allow pets? Would a senior community’s policy on pet ownership influence your decision to move there or not? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Read more blogs like this.

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