Seniors and Pets: A Winning Combination

Author

Golden West, The Towers

Posted on

Dec 28, 2021

Book/Edition

Colorado - Boulder County

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Do you own a pet? If the answer is yes, youre in luck. Pet ownership has been shown to offer physical, psychological and social benefits for all ages, but especially for seniors. This is due to the unique challenges that seniors face due to natural life changes, including decreased mobility, deteriorating health and reduced social contact.
According to the2019 National Poll on Healthy Aging, sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, 55 percent of adults ages 50 to 80 have at least one pet (dogs were the most popular; then cats; then, hamsters, birds and fish), and most of these owners reported seeing benefits of some kind.
But the reported benefits of owning a pet were even more notable for older adults who live alone or struggle with their health. A total of 72 percent of owners said their pets help them manage their physical or emotional symptoms. Read on to learn more about how pets can help seniors live fuller, happier lives:
Physical Benefits
First, pets tend to encourage physical activity. According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging, about two-thirds of pet owners said their pets help them stay physically active and stick to a healthy routine. Pets can provide some degree of cardiovascular exercise through walking and grooming, and this mild activity can help stimulate the brain and improve appetite for seniors who struggle with eating.
Psychological Benefits
For seniors, having a pet as your companion will reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Nearly eight in 10 owners said their pets help them reduce stress, and nearly nine in 10 owners said they help them enjoy life and feel loved. Additionally, owning a pet can give seniors a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives as their former responsibilities and social contacts begin to fall away.
Social Benefits
Some studies have shown that if you already have a strong social network, owning a pet doesnt make a significant difference in your happiness level. However, pet ownership can be vital for older adults, who, as a group, experience a high frequency of loneliness and social isolation.
A total of 65 pet owners also reported that having a pet helps them connect with other people. Why? Caring for a pet necessarily requires a level of connection with the outside world, whether that is taking your pet to the vet, groomer, pet store, the dog park or on walks in the neighborhood. Duties like these require owners to leave the house and engage with their environment.
What now?
If youre interested in adopting a pet and you have confidence in your physical and financial ability to provide the necessary care, then its time to consider what kind of animal to adopt. Some tips: cats are best if you have mobility issues, since you dont have to walk them, and a senior dog or cat tends to require less maintenance than a younger, more energetic pet.
If youre interested in the benefits of a pet but not quite comfortable with the cost or the commitment, you might try pet sitting for a friend, or volunteering at a local animal shelter. Pet therapy can also be very beneficial for seniors, so consider reaching out to your local branch of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs to set up an appointment.

Pets at Golden West
Good news for pet owners! At Golden West Senior Livings independent living apartments, seniors dont have to give up their pets when they move in. For an additional, non-refundable security deposit accompanied by our signed Pet Policy, residents can bring their pets along with them, provided they can care for them on their own. To learn more about Golden Wests pet policy, contact us at (303) 444-3967.

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Fun, Easy activities for Seniors in Colorado

Colorado, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities, offers a plethora of activities tailored specifically for seniors. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and wellness programs, the state provides numerous opportunities for older adults to stay active, engaged, and healthy. This guide explores some of the best activities for seniors in Colorado, ensuring a fulfilling and enriching lifestyle.1. Outdoor AdventuresHiking and Walking TrailsColorado boasts an extensive network of hiking and walking trails suitable for seniors of all fitness levels. The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, with its stunning red rock formations and easy walking paths, is a popular choice. Similarly, the Boulder Creek Path in Boulder offers a scenic, flat route perfect for a leisurely stroll.For more information, visit the Colorado Trails Explorer website. Bird WatchingWith diverse habitats ranging from grasslands to alpine regions, Colorado is a bird watchers paradise. Seniors can join local bird watching groups or visit hotspots like the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, which is home to over 330 species of birds.Learn more at the Colorado Birding Trail website.2. Cultural ExperiencesMuseums and Art GalleriesColorados rich cultural scene is accessible to seniors who enjoy museums and art galleries. The Denver Art Museum, with its senior-friendly programs and exhibitions, is a must-visit. Additionally, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers insights into the states history with senior discounts available.For upcoming exhibits, check out the Denver Art Museum and Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum websites. Theater and Performing ArtsThe states vibrant performing arts scene includes senior-friendly venues like the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and more. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder is another excellent option for seniors who enjoy live theater.Find more details at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Colorado Shakespeare Festival websites.3. Wellness and Fitness ProgramsSenior Fitness ClassesMany community centers and gyms in Colorado offer fitness classes designed specifically for seniors. SilverSneakers, a popular fitness program for older adults, is available in numerous locations across the state. These classes focus on strength, flexibility, and balance, catering to various fitness levels.To find a class near you, visit SilverSneakers.com.Yoga and Tai ChiYoga and Tai Chi are excellent for seniors seeking gentle exercise that enhances flexibility, balance, and mental well-being. Studios like Yoga Pod in Boulder and Tai Chi Colorado Springs provide classes specifically tailored for older adults.Explore more at Yoga Pod Boulder and Tai Chi Colorado Springs websites.4. Social and Recreational ActivitiesSenior CentersSenior centers across Colorado offer a wide range of activities, including games, social events, and educational classes. The Fort Collins Senior Center, for instance, provides everything from art workshops to dance classes, ensuring a lively and engaging environment for seniors.Discover more at the Fort Collins Senior Center website.Volunteering OpportunitiesMany seniors find fulfillment in volunteering, and Colorado has numerous opportunities for those who wish to give back to the community. Organizations like Volunteers of America Colorado and the Denver Botanic Gardens welcome senior volunteers in various capacities.Find volunteering opportunities at Volunteers of America Colorado and Denver Botanic Gardens websites.5. Travel and ExplorationScenic Train RidesFor seniors who prefer a more relaxed way to enjoy Colorados scenery, scenic train rides offer a fantastic option. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Georgetown Loop Railroad provide unforgettable journeys through the states picturesque landscapes.Book your ride at Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Georgetown Loop Railroad websites. Hot SpringsColorados hot springs are perfect for seniors seeking relaxation and therapeutic benefits. Locations like Glenwood Hot Springs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs offer serene environments where seniors can unwind and rejuvenate.Plan your visit to Glenwood Hot Springs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs websites.6. Educational ProgramsLifelong LearningSeniors in Colorado have access to numerous lifelong learning opportunities. Universities like Colorado State University and the University of Colorado offer programs and courses specifically designed for older adults, covering a wide range of subjects from history to technology.Explore lifelong learning at Colorado State University and University of Colorado Boulder.LibrariesLibraries in Colorado provide more than just books; they offer various programs and workshops for seniors. The Denver Public Library, for example, hosts book clubs, technology classes, and cultural events tailored to older adults.Visit the Denver Public Library for more information.ConclusionColorados diverse array of activities ensures that seniors can find something to suit their interests and abilities. Whether its exploring the great outdoors, engaging in cultural pursuits, participating in fitness programs, or continuing education, the state offers countless opportunities for seniors to lead an active, fulfilling life. By taking advantage of these resources, older adults in Colorado can enjoy a rich and vibrant lifestyle.

Community Benefit Statement at Via Mobility

You may have first experienced our nonprofit organization as a provider of paratransit services to the elderly and people with temporary or permanent disabilities. Or perhaps you became familiar with Via without even knowing who we are as you rode on the City of Boulder HOP bus route. This service has been operated and maintained by Via since 1994. Initially envisioned by the City and Via, the route makes it possible to get from the University of Colorado campus to the historic Pearl Street shopping district, and the 29th Street shopping and entertainment area without getting into a car. Via has also operated FlexRide, formerly Call-n-Ride, and Access-a-Ride services for RTD for many years. We also operate well-loved commuter micro transit routes such as the Lyons Flyer, HOP to Chautauqua, RideFree Lafayette, and the Omnibus for the City of Littleton. While initially headquartered and focused in Boulder County, Via has grown into Broomfield, Larimer, Weld Counties, and in 2020, on short notice, we took over from a Wheat Ridge based nonprofit that provided services to the mobility handicapped throughout the Denver metro area that had decided to end its paratransit service. This brought Vias signature door-through-door service to the four-county Denver area. When local government contracts with Via for shuttles or other public transit, there are several unique benefits that we provide at no additional cost.These include:1. REINVESTMENT IN COMMUNITY PARATRANSITVia directs the earned income from our contracts into affordable paratransit services for that community. This revenue, combined with other funding, is used to leverage additional federal and state grants, vastly increasing the services provided to our communities. This is unique to Via, as no other service provider reinvests its earned income to increase and expand necessary mobility services to our most vulnerable community members.2. PUBLIC DOLLARS REMAIN IN THE COMMUNITYAs a community-based nonprofit organization, Via works hard to be an efficient and cost-effective operation. We invest over 85 percent of our resources on direct program support; our revenues are reinvested in our communities, our employees, our facilities, and our sustainability programs and are not diverted to remote shareholders.3. CRISIS RESPONSE & COMMUNITY SAFETYWhen local government contracts with Via we offer our First and Second Crisis Response services. Via provided emergency response evacuations to residents during the 2013 floods and multiple wildfire events over the years, including the Marshall Fire in 2022. Via has been recognized by the Boulder County Sheriffs Office as a heroic and vital component of the Office of Disaster Management. Via is not paid for these services, but we underwrite the costs as a community reinvestment.4. PUBLIC ACCESS PARTNERSHIPSA further community benefit of working with Via includes access to our facilities: our 12-acre east Boulder campus is available to be used as a crisis center and public meeting space. In the aftermath of the horrific King Soopers killings, Via quickly organized our facility into a crisis response center where families could meet privately with law enforcement, counselling, and other critical resourcesVia is there for the community.5. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIPVia has been a leader in and is committed to Environmental Sustainability and will be fully converting our fleet to zero emission vehicles. We are also partnering with the City of Boulder and Boulder County to continue to build out our on-site solar microgrid. We coordinate closely with our local government partners to ensure that we represent their policies and priorities in the services we offer and the way we conduct our business.6. WORKFORCE TRAINING & DEVELOPMENTVia recently launched a relationship with CareerWise Colorado to begin our first auto mechanic apprenticeship program in 2024 with student employees. It is our goal to mentor and train young people in the newest emerging battery electric and hydrogen technologies, and then be able to offer a full-time, market-based position following graduation.Why Partner with Via Mobility Services?Via Mobility Services is a vital partner for your local government.Despite our many strengths, it would be increasingly difficult for Via Mobility Services to compete head-to-head with national and international for-profit companies intent on entering the market with a strategy of losing money but gaining market share. This is a reality that we face, but when local and county governments fully understand our business model and policy direction, the advantages of a partnership with Via Mobility Services are clear. Thank you for choosing to work with us!

Resources for Social Distancing

Older adults and people with disabilities experience the adverse side effects of social isolation at a higher rate than the average American. Humans are social creatures, and plenty of those we serve are already far too familiar with the struggles of social isolation. Access to affordable, accessible transportation removes one of the many barriers to staying connected that people limited mobility options face. But transportation is only one part of a more extensive network of services that people need.As we being to face the realities of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, we are all being encouraged to practice social distancing to help stop the spread of this disease. Were acutely aware of the challenges that those in isolation, whether by choice or necessity, face, and we understand that this is an uncertain and stressful time. At Via, we have already seen a decline in ride requests as our riders decide to stay home. Over the past week, senior and recreation centers, adult day facilities, and public events and spaces have made the difficult decision to close or reduce hours as a precaution to help minimize the effects of this outbreak in our community. You can learn more about Vias response here. We have compiled a list of resources to help you and your loved ones access the services you need, and weve included some other ideas of how everyone can stay connected and engaged.If you have any resources that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! Please email your ideas and resources to via@viacolorado.org so we can add them to this list.

Local Services By This Author

Golden West, The Towers

Independent Living 1055 Adams Circle, Boulder, Colorado, 80303

Recently renovated, Golden West is a nonprofit, affordable senior living community for people age 62 and older. Our long-time staff provide quality services, including programs and activities, social events, entertainment and educational programs. In addition to community-based opportunities, we facilitate outside trips and coordinate volunteer opportunities for our residents with respected local organizations. Our midtown Boulder location offers easy access to many Boulder amenities including dining, shopping and entertainment with healthcare providers and services also nearby.

Golden West, The Towers

Affordable-Subsidized 1055 Adams Circle, Boulder, Colorado, 80303

Recently renovated, Golden West is a nonprofit, affordable senior living community for people age 62 and older. Our long-time staff provide quality services, including programs and activities, social events, entertainment and educational programs. In addition to community-based opportunities, we facilitate outside trips and coordinate volunteer opportunities for our residents with respected local organizations. Our midtown Boulder location offers easy access to many Boulder amenities including dining, shopping and entertainment with healthcare providers and services also nearby.