Pets and Seniors – What a Perfect Mix!

April 14, 2017

There are many things to smile about at The Saybrook at Haddam, but the biggest smiles always appear when a four-legged furry friend is around.  We have several pets who call The Saybrook at Haddam “home” and we have regular animal visitors who brighten our days on so many levels.  You may have taken a Tai Chi class with Shasta, the visiting German Shepard, or spent time with Higgins, the spotted terrier, when he stops by to say hello.  Or you may have seen several resident dog-owners such as Angelo walking his cocker spaniel, Abby, or Hans and Heidi with their hound mix, Annie, or Janet with her little black cutie, Callie.  You already may even have met Skippy, the golden retriever that belongs to Kay and Charlie, two new residents.  And over in the cat department, you perhaps have seen Phyllis’s cat, Francie, who was the star of a recent advertisement from The Saybrook at Haddam, or Harry’s cat, Missy, or Barbara’s biblical friends, Adam and Eve.  These adorable pets are an important part of our community and we love having them around.

DSC0219_Francey_thumbWe are never surprised to come across articles that tout all the benefits of seniors owning pets.  It is easy to see that pets can increase physical activity and reduce loneliness, but did you know pets are also credited with lowering blood pressure and levels of depression, and increasing social interaction? According to www.webmd.com, the simple act of petting a dog can release a relaxation hormone, and cut down on levels of a stress hormone.  You may think some of these issues are not a concern for residents at The Saybrook at Haddam which is filled with countless activities for socializing and wellness, but even here people can benefit from the loyalty and companionship a pet can offer.

A recent article on agingcare.com says pets can even help with memory.  In the article, New York Psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld says she has “seen those with memory loss interact and access memories from long ago.”  She believes that is in part because pets “help the senior focus on something other than physical problems and negative preoccupations about loss or aging.”

Although most pet-owners at The Saybrook at Haddam have moved in with their current dog in boxanimal friends, some might want to adopt a pet after they settle into the community.  The Humane Society suggests seniors consider rescuing older pets as they are often calmer and are typically more at risk for being left behind in a pound or shelter.

If you are thinking of giving a pet to a senior citizen as a gift, it is recommended you involve them in the process and avoid surprises.  Working together, you can find the best pet to suit a senior’s physical abilities, attitude, living environment and, of course, finances.  According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a dog can cost more than $810 a year for food, medical care, toys and grooming, and older pets will likely face an illness that could quickly become costly.  These are significant considerations.

catsWhether a senior is a pet owner or simply a pet lover, the Saybrook at Haddam loves being a community where the two can mix happily – and enjoy lots and lots of happy benefits!


For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor Memory Care Neighborhood, please contact David Downey by clicking here or by calling 860-345-3779.

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