Furry friends for life

Five health benefits of retirement pets

With fewer work and family commitments to juggle, is retirement the perfect time to think about embracing pet ownership?

You can’t have failed to notice the pandemic pet boom. Whether it’s a new pup, fish or kitty companion, it seems that millions of us turned to animal friends to comfort us through the COVID-19 crisis. And with good reason. From reducing allergies in children to reducing the risk of heart attacks in adults, pet ownership is credited with numerous mental and physical health benefits.

Here are just a few reasons why pets and retirement are a good mix:

1. Pet therapy

Numerous studies show that all types of pets are natural mood boosters, lowering stress, blood pressure and anxiety levels. Strangely, stroking a cat has even been linked to lowering the risks of having a stroke! The comfort and companionship pets provide is thought to help people sleep better, and exercising a dog gives you all the positive mental benefits associated with being outside in the fresh air.

“I moved into Stover Court three years ago and I love my flat but it has made all the difference sharing it with little Sasha my loving and playful companion.

Sasha is a very special little dog. She is very tiny only weighing 2kgs and absolutely adores children especially those with “special needs”.  I am hoping to register her as a Therapy Dog next year as she will only be two years old this November.”

Penny Filmer, Stover Court, Devon

More tips for a better night’s sleep

2. Pets can keep you fit

The demands of taking care of all sorts of pets gives you a purpose and routine that can keep you active, but man’s – and woman’s – best friend when it comes to fitness is undoubtably the dog. Regularly walking a dog come rain or shine is a great way to get exercise, build stamina and can help keep weight gain at bay.

What are the best dogs for retirement?

3. Pets are great friends

Always pleased to see you and really good listeners, pets are lovely companions and animals and their owners form strong bonds. Pets can be a significant and important relationship in our lives and become a genuine part of the family.

“Mia has been with me through thick and thin and is a true ‘4 legged friend.’ Highly intuitive, clever (could even be a member of Feline MENSA), good company, cuddly and therapeutic.  My wee confidante and makes the house, i.e. the bits she allows me to use, feel like a home.”

Kate Foreman, Braidburn Court, Edinburgh

4. Pets introduce you to new friends

Like any hobby, pets are a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Dog owners in particular are likely to meet other dog owners – and dog fans – on their daily walks. You’ll be amazed how many people will stop and chat. But whatever your pet, from tropical fish to rabbits, you’re likely to find supportive specialist clubs and groups online. Facebook is a good place to start.

“Barney has been with me since he was 8 weeks old. He qualified as my Assistance Dog two years ago. He does a lot for me around the apartment including picking up items I have dropped. He is loved by many of the other homeowners who always stop for a cuddle when they see him.”

Margaret Russell, William Page Court, Bristol

5. Pets make you happier

Cute, cuddly, entertaining, loving, funny, smart, cheeky, even grumpy, whatever their personality type, pets bring a unique sense joy to any household. Repeated studies show that people with pets lead happier lives and that pets encourage us to release feel good hormones like Oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’ that encourages bonding).

“Kevin is eight in October. He is a free bird.  He is never shut in his cage. He has breakfast with us, he loves toast! In the bathroom he flies around, resting on the sink drinking the tap water when we are cleaning our teeth, he doesn’t miss a trick.

He talks quite a lot saying, “Kevin’s a clever little bird”, “Kevin’s a good boy,” “Darling, where’s David?” When we say, “night, night, Kevin,” he just automatically flies up on his swing for the night. That always amazes me!”

Ellen Millar, Catherine Court, Hampshire

Kevin the budgie pictured with David Hillman

Read Ellen and David’s love story

McCarthy Stone welcomes well-behaved pets into their retirement developments and apartments. See photos from homeowners and employees of their animal friends. Or explore pet-friendly retirement properties.

Who is McCarthy Stone?

McCarthy Stone is the UK’s leading developer of retirement communities offering retirement properties to rent or for sale. For more information, please visit McCarthy Stone.


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