No matter how excited you may be to move into your new apartment at a senior living community, there can still be some accompanying anxiety. Transition at any age can be overwhelming, and moving into a senior living community is no different. Fortunately, the transition trauma doesn’t have to last too long or feel too sad. There are many ways to ease into your new home and new routine, including a bit of help from your furry best friend.
Older adults moving into communities that allow (and even encourage) pets can benefit from their animals even more during the transition period. Here are just a few ways that a familiar furry face can make your new home feel welcoming and less scary.
Pets offer familiarity
Moving into a new apartment offers many changes — a new bedroom, a new kitchen setup, new neighbors and new routes to take to the dining room. If you happen to bring your pet along, you only have to glance at them to have a sense of familiarity and a sense of home. Whether your pet is a fuzzy cat or a peaceful fish, your pet is your best friend no matter where you live.
Pets offer stress relief
Anyone who has ever owned a pet already knows the benefit of decreased stress and anxiety. Moving can be traumatic, even if you are looking forward to the change. Sitting down to pet your dog or play with your cat can decrease feelings of stress, leaving you feeling more equipped to meet the day with a smile.
Pets decrease feelings of loneliness
Even with new neighbors and peers right down the hall, you may struggle with feelings of loneliness when you move into a new senior living community. This is completely normal, and you will likely feel connected to new friends sooner than later, but in the meantime, your pet can decrease those lonely or depressed thoughts.
Pets are a conversation starter
Speaking of new friends down the hall, you are more likely to be able to strike up a conversation with neighbors when walking your cute puppy in the garden. Your pet, no matter what type, is a conversation starter and a potential connection to another senior in your community who loves animals as well.
Pets make you laugh
Does your cat have a silly habit that can always bring a smile to your face? Pets are great for keeping us giggling in spite of ourselves, and that trait will be even more important to you as you navigate your new home.
Pets can be comforting, especially for those with complex medical conditions
Seniors who are living with complex medical conditions, like chronic pain or even memory loss, can especially benefit from a companion pet. Familiar animals can give these special seniors a feeling of purpose and even trigger endorphin release, which can ease feelings of pain or depression.
If you are exploring senior living, be sure to inquire about the community’s pet policy. If you are able to bring your best friend along, do so! If you are unable to bring your animal, make sure that the community invites pets to come during assigned times. You can get just as much comfort and love from a visiting animal during a planned event as you can from having one wagging and waiting in your apartment.
When you are ready to pack up the house and move into your next community, use this resource. Our guide, The Complete Checklist for Moving to a Senior Living Community is a great way to make sure your transition goes as smoothly as possible for both you and your pet.