How Pets Create Pleasant Days for Sunrise Residents

, Sunrise’s VP of Memory Care and Programming  |  January 30, 2012

At Sunrise, we focus on providing the comforts of home, which includes bringing pets into our residents’ lives. Caring for animals not only offers companionship, but has so many other health benefits for seniors, especially those who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss.

When you walk into a Sunrise community, you are often greeted by a sweet and obedient dog to welcome you or you may spot the community cat curled up in its favorite resident’s lap. These pets live at the community full-time and are truly part of the Sunrise family. We also invite residents to bring their own pets with them when they move into the community.

I recently wrote an article for Huffington Post that shares five benefits that pets offer for seniors – whether at a Sunrise community or in their own homes. Pets increase social interaction by sparking conversation and bringing people together as they share a common bond with a dog or cat. Many seniors enjoy feeding a cat or taking a dog for a walk because it gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. Additionally, pets have a wonderful calming effect, which can offer comfort and help ease anxiety.

We often hear remarkable and heartwarming stories of the bonds that Sunrise residents make with their pets. Here is how one resident remembers the community dog that lived at Sunrise of Danville, CA, before the dog passed away:

Wilbur was not an ordinary dog. He knew he was our friend and he was a true friend. He took us just as we were. There was a mutual understanding. He had his space and we respected it. We had our space and he wanted to share it. His eyes conveyed that he knew we were all family and that is all that mattered. We loved each other.

Over the coming weeks, look for additional stories and quotes from residents and team members about their beloved pets on the Sunrise blog. And, visit a community to receive a copy of our 2012 Loyal Companions pet calendar for a suggested donation of $1 to the Alzheimer’s Association. The dog pictured here, Ginger, lives at  Sunrise of Leominster, MA and is adored by residents,  their families and our team members!