Inside the ‘paw-sitive’ health benefits of pets

Whether they have fur and tails or fins and scales, the resident pets who call our Seasons Living retirement communities home, are as sweet as they are loved.

The benefits of pet ownership in retirement and aged care settings are immeasurable when it comes to staying healthy and active and maintaining social connections.

Data obtained from a survey conducted by Companion Animal Network Australia in 2023, revealed 86 per cent of the 1130 respondents said pet ownership could improve the mental and physical health of senior Australians.

Meanwhile, 74 per cent of those surveyed felt pets reduced feelings of loneliness and 42 per cent believed the responsibility of caring for an animal was an added benefit.

Over the course of a three-year study, the Baker Medical Research Institution discovered the participants who owned pets had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, even after accounting for individual factors including weight and diet.

How Dougie helped owners transition into retirement

Seasons Mango Hill couple Dennis and Edna welcomed Dougie the adorable Pug to their family 15 years ago.

“Dougie actually belonged to our daughter and her family initially, and we would just babysit him when they went on holiday,” Edna said.

“When they moved homes, they couldn’t bring Dougie with them so we decided to keep him… now we couldn’t imagine life without him.”

Edna and Dennis with Dougie.

While the family have always loved and cherished Dougie, little did they know at the time just how influential their pet would be on their lives.

“When we were deciding if we should move to a retirement village, Dennis was quite apprehensive because he was worried he wouldn’t fit in and since becoming ill, has lost touch with his social circles,” Edna said.

“Our daughter told Dennis he could bring Dougie to Seasons, so he would always have someone to talk to and that made the transition a lot easier for him.

“Every afternoon, Dennis takes Dougie for a walk around the village – it’s become a daily ritual that gets both of them out and moving around.

“It’s an exceptional thing to be able to bring your pets with you (to Seasons) because they provide such valuable company.”

Dennis and Dougie.

Now aged 17, little Dougie has sadly experienced his own health setbacks, and is almost completely blind and deaf.

Despite this, Dougie still finds his own unique ways to communicate with his loyal owners.

When gentle and calm Dougie is not walking around Mango Hill with Dennis, Dougie is likely at home cuddling his owners or enjoying his favourite snack – Schmackos.

Sweet rescue cat comes out of shell at Seasons

When Seasons resident Peggy’s senior cat sadly passed away, she never imagined adopting another cat would offer so much healing.

During an impromptu visit to an RSPCA shelter in late 2023, Peggy met Strudel – a sweet but shy kitten, and she knew it was meant to be.

Peggy and Strudel.

“To be honest, I didn’t really consider adopting a kitten because I thought at that age they would be too hectic for me, but I took one look at Strudel and just thought ‘yep – that’s her’,” Peggy said.

“It’s pretty lonely when you lose a cat – you get so used to having someone around to talk to and to play with, so Strudel has really helped me in a lot of ways.

“She’s pretty crazy at times – an absolute nutter actually, but every night she comes into bed with me for cuddles.”

Describing her one-year-old Siamese Burmen cat as a “real teenager”, Peggy said Strudel was also loveable, spoilt and shy.

Strudel dressed to impress.

A fan of electronic and ball toys, Strudel almost always loses her collection underneath furniture, forcing Peggy to find them for her.

“I would encourage everyone to adopt a rescue pet,” Peggy said.

“It will be the most rewarding thing you ever do.”

‘She was the one’: Meet the purr-fect pair

For Seasons resident Barbara and her appropriately named cat Kitty, they have always been a perfect match.

The pair love to watch television together and Kitty particularly enjoys nature documentaries.

Barbara and Kitty.

Barbara said alongside her mum, she adopted Kitty from RSPCA many years ago – a decision Barbara said has changed her life in the most positive way.

“I picked her up and she started purring so I knew she was the one and I guess she did too,” Barbara said.

“She loves cuddles and pats, she gets underneath the blanket when it’s cold, she likes going outside to explore the garden and she loves jumping up to watch T.V.

“I just love her for being her.”

For enquiries about moving into the Seasons Living communities with your pet, email info@seasonsliving.com.au

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