St. Anthony's Senior Living

Health Benefits of Pets for Seniors

A senior citizen enjoys a book with her dog in her lap.

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know how much of an impact it can have on your everyday life! They are more than just furry, feathery, or even scaly companions. They are a part of your family. If you or your loved one is considering moving to a senior living facility, a pet might be the perfect way to ease the transition to this new lifestyle.

At St. Anthony’s, we love pets! Whether you are looking to adopt a pet or already have one, we are more than happy to welcome them home with you to our pet-friendly senior living community!


Emotional Benefits

Pets love their owners unconditionally and provide a very beneficial type of affection and connection. Here are a few ways owning a pet can be the boost of happiness you or your loved one need:

Staying Social

While your senior living apartment has everything you need to relax with your pet, your furry friend probably likes to get out once in a while too! Having a pet to take out for a walk gives you the perfect excuse to get out and socialize with your fellow residents. Pets are great conversation starters, and who can resist petting a cute dog with a wagging tail?

Subtracting Stress

Pets naturally make us feel good by boosting happy hormones like serotonin with their lovable, cuddly nature. Physical contact, such as petting or grooming, can also ease anxiety and depression. For seniors who may not be able to get out and about as much as they used to, this is a great added benefit.

Providing Purpose

A pet provides a constant reminder you are still loved and needed every day! Your pet relies on you to provide for them and take care of them, which can help seniors feel empowered and independent in all aspects of their lives.


Physical Benefits

Owning a pet is about more than just emotional wellness — They can actually be a positive influence on your physical health too! Here are just a few examples:

A Healthy Heart

Did you know that owning a pet can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol? According to a study by Harvard Medical School, single dog owners have an 11% lower risk of heart attacks and a 33% lower risk of other life-threatening conditions. Who knew “man’s best friend” could actually boost your health just by being by your side?

An Excuse to Exercise

Getting fresh air on a short, daily walk is important for anyone at any age. With an active pet, seniors are more likely to take regular walks and play with them, which naturally gets them moving and enjoying the great outdoors!

A Regular Routine

Owning a pet gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. You have a loving animal to care for, which in turn gives you a sense of purpose. The routine of caring for, feeding, and grooming a pet encourages seniors to routinely practice self-care.

A Miraculous Memory

There may come a time when you or your loved one require the additional support of our Memory Care community, at which point caring for a pet may become difficult. That said, owning a pet has actually been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults, slowing the onset of illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia.


Questions to Ask Before Getting a Pet

The benefits of pet-friendly senior living are clear, but before you go out and adopt your new companion, take a moment to ask yourself a few questions.

Am I or my loved one able to care for a pet?

Owning a pet is a big responsibility, so it’s important that you feel confident in yourself or your loved one’s ability to take care of one before making such a big commitment!

What kind of pet is right for me?

Everyone has different needs, and there are plenty of pet options to fit each need. Dogs and cats are the most popular, but there are hundreds of breeds with different personalities! If you or your loved one are concerned about limited mobility, for example, a cat might be a better choice than a dog. If having a furry companion underfoot might be concerning, a fish can also be a great option.

How much will it cost?

Pets are an investment! They need to be fed, kept clean, and may require regular visits to a veterinary clinic. Make sure you have a budget plan before deciding on a pet.

Is my living situation pet-friendly?

Whether you live in your own home or are part of a senior living community, make sure your lifestyle and physical living situation is a good one for a pet! And if you have plans to move to a senior living community in the future, make sure you do your research and find one that encourages pet-friendly senior living.


Pet-Friendly Senior Living at St. Anthony’s

St. Anthony’s is not just a pet-friendly senior living facility — We’re a loving community! We want you to be able to experience the joys of pet ownership and are here to help make that possible.


If you are unsure about senior living or would like to know more about St. Anthony’s before you commit to moving, come and visit us! Take a tour of our facilities, and have all of your questions answered by our expert staff on-site. Give us a call to schedule your tour today!