In senior living communities, the employees strive daily to bring a bit of joy back to someone’s life. Not many people acknowledge the impact that having a pet can have on you until you can no longer have one. Many also do not know the outstanding opportunities offered to communities nationwide to allow seniors and pets to interact further and the benefits this can have on both parties.
Betsy is one of the seniors with these benefits in North Naples, FL. Each month, caregivers witness the wide grin that spreads across Betsy’s face when bunnies visit the assisted living community where she resides. She spends the hour holding and petting the bunnies, talking to them while continuously smiling.
“They are so sweet. I love these bunnies,” Betsy says with one in her lap.
Health organizations worldwide have long documented the benefits of pets for seniors. Having a pet therapy team visit or pets residing within a senior community can combat loneliness and isolation while also bringing comfort and companionship to the residents. These animals can also reduce stress while promoting overall health and wellness.
The American Heart Association Journal acknowledged that the relationship between seniors and pet ownership reduced cardiovascular disease problems. “Recent reports have suggested an association of dog companionship with lower blood pressure levels, improved lipid profile, and diminished sympathetic responses to stress.”
There are several ways seniors and pets can interact, even if they can no longer fully care for their own:
Betsy owned pets as a child and younger adult. One of the aspects of moving into a community that was difficult for Betsy was the lack of her pets and the daily interaction that came with having one. On the days when the bunnies arrive, Betsy is more talkative with others and animated. The pet visits help with her social skills, lessen anxiety, and bring her great happiness. Providing seniors with these interactions not only gives them something to look forward to, but also companionship for those who do not thrive in social situations.
Brian Wierima, community relations coordinator for the Gulf Coast Humane Society, helps run a Senior to Senior program in Lee County. Volunteers with the humane society take older dogs to five local senior living facilities in the community.
“We try to have these seniors interact with senior dogs, eight years or older,” Wierima began. “They are calmer. Their behavior and manners are better and it pairs well.”
The dogs go to recreation rooms for larger group visits or to individual rooms for seniors who do not wish to participate in larger groups. Providing both a group setting and an isolated environment allows individuals to take advantage of this event while not pushing seniors into situations that might make them uncomfortable.
“The seniors just love it,” Wierima exclaimed. “It is great for both our senior dogs and the seniors. There are benefits both ways. It is a very beneficial program. By the time you leave, you see the results. There are smiles. Also, it breaks up a routine for the residents, and many of them previously owned pets. In many of the senior residential homes, they can’t have pets, so having some time with a dog fills that void they lost.”
It has become more common for humane societies to provide programs that encourage seniors to take these available times with the animals to fill a gap they might be missing. In some instances, if allowed, it also promotes adopting or fostering these senior pets.
Gulf Coast Humane Society is one of the partners offering authorized communities animal fostering. They provide a senior fostering program where a senior citizen can temporarily take care of a dog or cat. All the food and transportation are provided. This removes some of the cost concerns while allowing the senior citizens and pets the comfort of each other.
Wierima says this has many benefits, “The animal gives the senior a routine, it gets them exercise. It gets them outside to take walks,” he said.
Weirma believes strongly that this addition to their communities activities has dramatically impacted their seniors.
Cheryl Gregson, activities director at an assisted living facility in North Naples, has brought dogs, rabbits, horses, wolves, parrots and Trooper the raccoon to visit her seniors. She also has four parakeets that live in the common area.
“It’s so important,” Gregson stressed. “Whenever a pet, any kind of pet, comes into the room, everybody lights up; everybody smiles, everybody is happy. It makes a difference.”
Betsy is not the only senior who has benefited from pet therapy activities. Across the nation, hundreds of communities provide similar opportunities to their residents, and the number continues to grow.
Are seniors in your area looking for similar pet interaction options? Contact your local senior advisor today for more information on how to provide this in your community, or with assistance finding a community that does.
The boundaries of aging are constantly being rewritten. Retirement is no longer synonymous with slowing down. Instead, its a chapter that beckons us to discover the abundance of life in new and exciting ways.An active adult lifestyle embodies the spirit of curiosity, the joy of movement, and the richness of human connections. Its a lifestyle that celebrates the freedom to engage with the world, cultivate passions, and create lasting memories.Read on to learn more about the freedom of an active adult lifestyle and how Riverpointe can help you get the kind of life youve dreamt of.Your Gateway to Vibrant LivingRiverpointe is a testament to an active adult lifestyle. Offering a range of amenities that cater to diverse interests and passions, this community is a sanctuary for those seeking vitality and connection:Diverse Fitness ProgramsAt Riverpointe, the journey to active living begins with tailored fitness programs. From the tranquility of yoga to the energy of low-impact aerobics and the vitality of cardiovascular exercises, residents can move at their own pace. The community recognizes that each individuals journey is unique, and the fitness programs reflect this understanding.Group Excursions and EventsFor those who seek adventure beyond the communitys bounds, RiverPointe offers an array of group excursions. Whether its exploring museums, attending theater performances, or embarking on shopping trips, these outings infuse life with new experiences and shared moments.Cultural and Social EventsStaying within the community doesnt mean missing out on cultural and social engagement. With a Full-time Activity Director at the helm, Riverpointe orchestrates a tapestry of events with everything from concerts, dances, book reviews, speaker programs, movie nights, and more. This vibrant calendar ensures that theres never a dull moment.Onsite AmenitiesRiverpointes onsite amenities are designed to enhance every aspect of life. From garden spaces that invite reflection to an in-house foot clinic that prioritizes well-being, every amenity is a testament to the communitys commitment to holistic living.Apartment ComfortsThe embrace of an active adult lifestyle extends to the very living spaces at Riverpointe. Innovative floor plans offer breathtaking views of the Front Range, immersing residents in the beauty of their surroundings. Meals are more than sustenance; theyre an opportunity to connect over casual lunches or elegant dinners.The apartments at Riverpointe are designed for comfort and convenience. From weekly light housekeeping to basic cable TV, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, and complimentary laundry facilities, every amenity is aimed at enriching the living experience.Embrace Freedom, Embrace LifeThe freedom of an active adult lifestyle isnt merely about the absence of limitations; its about the presence of opportunities that empower us to live life to the fullest. RiverPointe encapsulates this essence, providing a canvas upon which residents can paint their stories of vitality and connection. Its a community that encourages exploration, nurtures connections, and celebrates the beauty of every moment.With Riverpointes offerings, an active adult lifestyle becomes a journey that unfolds with every step. Find joy in a morning yoga session, the thrill of a museum excursion, the laughter shared during a dance night, and the comfort of a thoughtfully designed living space. Find the true embodiment of freedom: the freedom to choose, to connect, to move, to be, and to live.If youre ready to embark on a journey of active living and embrace the freedom to thrive, Riverpointe welcomes you to a community where every day is a canvas for new experiences and cherished memories. Contact us today to get started!
Did you know that Pennsylvania has the fifth largest older adult population in the nation with 3.4 million individuals?1 As the population continues to age, more people are weighing their options when it comes to downsizing, moving into a senior living community, or choosing to age in the comfort of their homes. According to a 2021 Home and Community Preferences survey by AARP of 2,826 U.S. adults, about 75% of people over the age of 50 expressed that they would like to remain in their current houses and communitiesmeaning aging in place is becoming a more prevalent life choice among older adults.2What to Know About Aging in PlaceIf youre leaning toward spending your years in the place where you feel the most content and safe, then you need to be willing to make some modifications to your home. As you age, your needs change, which means certain features in your home may need to be adjusted. Wider doorways and walkways; accessible bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms; ramps and lifts; non-slip floors; and stability aids like grab bars and handrails are some of the most common enhancements that come to mind, but assistive technology can play an important role in aging in place too.Many people choose to age in place because they want to maintain their independence, and assistive technology helps make that possible. From smart home devices that allow you to control the temperature or lights with voice commands to amplified phones and doorbells, there are plenty of high-tech tools that can help you navigate your day-to-day with ease. If youre a senior with hearing loss, Captioned Telephone Relay Service is a free service that allows you to read captions of whats said to you during phone conversations using a uniquely designed CapTel phone.CapTel Makes Phone Conversations Clearer Using CapTel, you can confidently and securely age in place knowing that you can effectively communicate over the phone. Whether youre calling loved ones to catch up, chatting with your doctor, or contacting first responders in an emergency, CapTel is a dependable communication solution for older adults who have hearing loss.Best of all, the CapTel captioning service is free and available in English and Spanish, with captions appearing on the bright, built-in display screen of the CapTel phone just moments after the other caller has spoken. CapTel phones can be purchased directly for $75 through a third-party vendor, or qualified Pennsylvania residents can apply for a CapTel device through the states Telecommunications Device Distribution Program (TDDP)which provides specialized equipment to individuals who find it difficult to use a standard phone. Age in Place Confidently with CapTelTo learn more about CapTel, including how to purchase or apply for an assistive communication device, visit pactrs.com today!Sources:1Master Plan for Older Adults, Pennsylvania Department of Aging 22021 Home and Community Preferences Survey: A National Survey of Adults Age 18-Plus | Joannne Binette & Fanni Farago, AARP Research CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.
Moving to a personal care home is a big decision based on many factors. Cold winter months are drawing near, and the Farmers Almanac is forecasting a Winter Wonderland for the northeastern United States. Keeping this in mind, and to avoid winter chores, this is a great time to consider a respite stay and experience first-hand what life is like living in a personal care home.Experience an easier moveWinter weather conditions like snow and ice can complicate the move to a personal care home. Moving before bad weather conditions arrive allows seniors to avoid potential weather-related delays, accidents or other challenges during transportation and when moving belongings.Try out the personal care homeRespite care offers seniors a chance to try out a retirement community without making a long-term commitment. Country Meadows offers all-rental retirement living accommodations, so seniors are not beholden to a lengthy lease or an ownership stake. A respite stay can help older adults see for themselves whether or not the community is a good fit for a permanent move.Avoid winter weather challengesMany older adults struggle with winter chores such as shoveling snow, chipping away ice, walking on icy sidewalks, managing heating systems and driving in inclement weather. A temporary respite stay at a personal care home eliminates these responsibilities, as well as many other daily chores, removing worries. It provides seniors the opportunity to settle into their new living arrangement without the added stress of winter weather.Access daily assistance and health servicesAlong with cold weather, the winter season can also bring several challenges for older adults to maintain wellness. A major benefit to living at a personal care home is prompt, easy access to health resources and assistance. This is especially beneficial for seniors with health concerns and mobility issues. If a resident requires assistance with medications, dressing, bathing or another daily activity, simply push a call button and a personal care associate can provide needed help. And a wellness team keeps an eye on each residents overall health.Reduce lonelinessMany seniors experience loneliness and isolation while living at home. The winter months can magnify these feelings. Respite care offers opportunities for social interaction and engagement with new neighbors and friends in the same age group, reducing feelings of loneliness and providing mental stimulation.Participate in activities, enjoy entertainment and outingsSenior living communities often offer a variety of enriching activities and events. At Country Meadows, our Vibe program considers each residents physical, cognitive, social and spiritual needs and customizes activities, entertainment, outings and purposeful service opportunities. Events are organized seasonally by categories and offer opportunities for socialization and fun. When living at a personal care home, one doesnt need to brave the elements outside, because all the fun during winter is happening indoors, fostering a sense of belonging among residents.Provide relief for family caregiversA respite stay offers a break for family members and friends providing care in a seniors private home. This break is especially appreciated during winter months when private caregiving responsibilities might become more demanding due to inclement weather, illnesses or holiday-related activities.When considering respite care at a personal care home or retirement community over the winter months, its important to do some homework. Families and seniors should research and visit potential facilities to ensure the community can meet specific needs and preferences of each individual. The decision for respite care should prioritize the well-being, comfort and specific needs of each person, aiming to provide a supportive and enriching experience. Contact Country Meadows Retirement Communities today.