Pets Bring Joy at Rose Schnitzer Manor Assisted Living

By Sydney Clevenger, with research from Arlene Layton

When resident Elaine was looking for active assisted living, she was adamant that her poodle-mix, Nettie, was coming with her.

“I got Nettie when she was 10, and I’ve had her five years, so she’s 50,” said Elaine, of her apricot-colored fluffy friend.

Nettie often attends singing with the Mazel Tones, politely resting under Elaine’s chair, blinking sweetly at other residents and is unperturbed by the piano.

“She’s the only daughter I have,” said Elaine. “She is good company, and brings love to everyone here at Rose Schnitzer Manor.”

According to a recent study sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons, more than half of older adults (55%) reported having a pet. Pet owners said their pets help them enjoy life (88%), feel loved (86%), reduce stress (79%), provide a sense of purpose (73%), and help them stick to a routine (62%).

Respondents also reported that pets connect them with others, help them stay physically active, and help them cope with physical and emotional symptoms, including taking their mind off pain.

Resident Marie brought her seven-year-old adopted shelter cats, Cricket and Panda, to Rose Schnitzer Manor when she moved in, and said having pets was definitely a factor in her decision about where to live.

“It was definitely a benefit,” said Marie, with a laugh. I’m not sure which was more important: having the cats, or having intelligent people!”

Marie agrees that her animals help with socialization.

“My cats communicate with me, and they will tell me what they want and what they need. I was down on the first floor one day, and there was a whole group of people having a great conversation about my cat,” said Maire. “People also come up to my room to see the cats. The cats love to lay on the carpet and look out the window at the birds.”

Having a cherished pet should not be a barrier to moving to assisted living, said Rose Schnitzer Manor Administrator Rachael White.

“Elders should be assured that the right facility will welcome their pet,” she said. “At Rose Schnitzer Manor, we have 27 acres upon which residents can walk their pet, and we also allow pets in residents’ rooms. We even allow pet visitations if a resident is caring for someone else’s pet.”

Rachael added that pets become part of the community and are not only a comfort to residents, but also to the staff.

“Our team loves to hear the cats purr and to pet the dogs. It’s truly like being in the comfort of home.”

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