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When many of us look back at our childhoods and lives as young adults, we can often recall an array of happy times with friends, family and pets. In fact, for many, pets and other furry friends have played a large part in our lives. These times are often filled with joy, excitement, playful fun and support. After all, our pets are there to make us laugh, provide us with company and understand our emotions in ways that no other truly could. To put it simply, pets have been our best friends and treasured family, and as seniors age, they find that some things never change.

“Many seniors find that pets provide them with the happiness and joy of their younger years,” says Vanessa DiPaolo, Director of Sales at The Terraces at Bonita Springs, the only Life Plan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. “We see this every day with our residents. This is not only beneficial to their everyday lives by improving their moods, but it also increases and enhances their health as well. Whether it’s a cat or a dog, bird or other animal, we’re seeing more and more how the fun, compassion, joy and company of pets helps to provide a wide range of advantages to seniors both now and as they age. These healing powers are numerous, so if you’ve been considering purchasing a pet for a loved one, scheduling a visit with a beloved pet of your own or letting them pick out their newest companion, the time might just be now!”

The Healing Powers of Pets for Seniors

Is a furry friend just what the doctor ordered? Here are just a few of the healing benefits that seniors can enjoy when they welcome a loving pet into their home.  

They can increase happiness and self-esteem.

Is it possible to be too happy? We think not! When there is no one around, pets are there to keep you company, make you smile and improve your mood. Not only this but caring for a pet can also improve self-esteem by providing you with purposeful work, which in turn enhances confidence, helps to maintain independence and more!

Pets can encourage you to exercise.

Whether it’s walking the dog, rolling a ball with your active cat or even playing fetch, pets have a tendency to get you moving. This increases the chances you’ll get outside, exercise and improve your health and wellness!

They can decrease pain, anxiety and depression.

There’s a reason why pets are used in therapy sessions whether at hospitals, in airports, during stressful times or as your own personal therapy animal! Interacting with animals and pets helps to reduce stress by lowering cortisol and increasing oxytocin in the brain! Think about it: how can you not smile whenever you see a furry friend headed your way? It’s a positive interaction for almost everyone!

They can increase your socialization.

Maybe best of all the healing benefits of pets, they have a tendency to increase your socialization! When you go out and about, they can help you interact with others and open a door for connection to others who love animals! You may find that others want to stop and pet your dog, cuddle with your cat or even hear your bird talk! This can help you to make friends, find others with whom you have common interests and get you more involved throughout your community.

Are You Considering a Pet?

Before purchasing a pet of your own or one for your loved one, consider a couple of important questions.

  • Are you or your loved one experienced pet owners?
  • Can you or your loved one handle the responsibility of a pet?
  • Will limitations affect how a pet is cared for?
  • What type of animal will be best?
  • Can veterinary bills be afforded, and can a veterinarian be easily accessed if needed?
  • Is there a backup plan in case a pet is too much for you or a loved one?

Then, consider if the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages of having a pet. If you’re still unsure, consider if an emotional support animal or pet visits would be an easier way to go! There is always an option to help your loved one enjoy the benefits of pets, whether they are their own or someone else’s! For more information, or to learn more about the benefits of pets, contact our team today. We would be happy to help guide you on this journey!


About The Terraces at Bonita Springs

Recreation, special events, holiday celebrations, educational programs, guest speakers, and a variety of inspiring activities take place throughout the year at The Terraces at Bonita Springs as part of the community’s active lifestyle programs. The Terraces is the only Life Plan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. Living choices include independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. All levels of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support, are open for direct admittance, with no entrance fee.

For more information, visit or call 239-208-6963.