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The myth about pet ownership in retirement developments

Posted 26th July 2022

Pets are extremely important to people in the UK and there has been an explosion in pet ownership during the pandemic.

According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association 3 million UK households bought a pet during the coronavirus pandemic. Of the 34 million household pets in the UK, 12 million are dogs, 12 million are cats, 3.2 million are small mammals, 3 million are birds, and 1.5 million are reptiles. 

Pictured is Director Jamie Turnball with Stan.

For many older people owning a pet brings great joy and can be a way to beat loneliness in later life. AgeCo, a subsidiary of the charity Age UK highlights that although retirement is something many people look forward to as they think it offers freedom, for many, it can be incredibly lonely and isolating.

One of their solutions is to own a pet and they point to a report from Cats Protection that suggests 62% of owners said their cats helped to relieve stress and loneliness. Other research from the pet charity, PDSA found that 95% of owners said that owning a pet made them happy, and 87% of pet owners say owning a pet makes them mentally healthier.

But what happens if you decide to move into a retirement community and you either have a pet or would like to get one? Many people just assume that pets wouldn’t be allowed, but this isn’t the case.

We welcome pets in most of our properties and many of our residents enjoy the companionship of a dog or cat. (Permission from the managing agent must be agreed prior to move in). We believe this is vital and people shouldn’t be denied pets just because they choose to move to a retirement community.

Interestingly research by Home Instead Senior Care in the USA showed that when it comes to deciding where to live in retirement, 70% said their pet is a factor in making decisions, and 82% said they would not consider moving to a senior living community without their pet. It just goes to show how important pets are to people.

Owning a pet isn’t just about companionship and beating loneliness there are also a plethora of other health benefits. A 12 year study with Swedish adults aged 40 to 80 found that single dog owners had an 11% lower risk of having a heart attack and 33% lower risk of dying compared with single people who didn’t own a dog. Proving pet ownership can help you live longer!

The report suggests dogs may ease stress, loneliness and depression and inspire people to be more active and socially connect – which are all good for heart health.

Another study showed that stroking a cat or a dog for 10 minutes can significantly reduce your stress. Researchers from Washington State University found that there were huge reductions in the stress hormone cortisol from just 10 minutes of interaction.

If you want to find out more about retirement living with or without a pet, please get in touch with our team and we can help welcome you (and your furry friend) to a new retirement community.

01823 793420 or lettings@myfutereliving.co.uk 

www.myfutureliving.co.uk