7 Great Reasons for Older Adults to Own a Pet

American humorist Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  Given that as we get older, we may be looking for ways to lighten our responsibilities, some people may wonder – are pets good for seniors?  If you’re currently a pet owner or considering getting one, here are some of the very real benefits of having a pet in your retirement years.

  1. You Walk the Dog and the Dog Walks You

Research shows that dog owners walk approximately one hour longer each day than those without a four-legged friend. The regular activity that often comes along with taking your furry friend out for a walk can help decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.  Walking your dog on a regular basis has even been linked to improving your cognitive function and lowering your risk of having a heart attack.

  1. Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

If you find yourself living alone, having a pet can be extraordinarily beneficial for your mental health.  Dogs and cats can stave off loneliness, reduce our stress, and help combat depression and anxiety.  Having a pet has even been associated with lessening the effects of PTSD. It’s been increasingly recognized that dogs and cats have healing power by reducing stress hormones.  A dog that sits by our side, or a purring cat that curls up on our lap when we convalesce can be so therapeutic when we’re recovering from illness or a setback. 

  1. They Boost Our Paw-sitivity

One of the most rewarding aspects of having a pet is all they do for our emotional wellbeing.  Pets love us so fully and unconditionally that the bond created between pets and their owners is unlike any other.  They hold us in the highest esteem and see us as the best version of ourselves.  Who wouldn’t love that?  Pets are great listeners.  They think we’re “the cat’s meow” for being nothing more than our genuine selves.  Spending time with your pet and experiencing the love that goes both ways can promote the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that help us de-stress.

  1. Dogs Improve Our Social Life

Pets help us form connections with other people.  Pet owners are 60% more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood.  Walking your dog brings a natural interaction with other people and is an automatic icebreaker.  It’s human nature for us to stop to chat, scratch a fuzzy head, smile, and acknowledge a pet and its owner when they pass on the street.  Even for cat owners or dog owners who don’t take their dogs out themselves, our pets become a natural subject of interest to talk about with family, friends, and caregivers.  Animals just create that space for conversation.

  1. Pets Keep Us Mindful

Taking care of a pet creates a routine for us and adds structure to our day.  The responsibility of caring for another living creature creates mindfulness and can help strengthen our cognitive functioning.  Pets also have a way of keeping us in the moment, as we focus our love and attention on our fuzzy friend.  

  1. Dogs And Cats Can Help Keep Us Safe

Having a dog is like having an extra set of eyes and ears.  Dogs will let you know when someone comes to the door and can be a measure of protection to shield us from possible danger.  At the very least, the heightened senses of dogs and cats can serve as a kind of alarm, and alert you to things that might warrant your attention.  

  1. Pets Give Us a Sense of Purpose

Knowing how much our fur babies depend on us can remind us that we make a difference in the life of another.  Having someone who needs us gives us a sense of purpose.  There is great benefit to having that type of responsibility, and knowing we are providing a good life for our animals as important members of our family.

Spend Time with Animals, Even if You Don’t Have Your Own

Some people understandably are not in a position to own a pet.  But you can still reap some of the benefits by interacting with animals when you have the opportunity.  Spending time with other people’s pets still enables you to benefit from the human-pet connection, and the endorphins that make us feel joyful and calm.

Pets can boost your quality of life. They bring humor and laughter to our days, offer comfort, and companionship.  They can make the difference between a life “endured,” and a life well-lived.  Not sure what kind of pet to have?  Older dogs make wonderful pets, and cats are especially good pets for people who may have arthritis, or any physical challenges. 

At John Knox Village, we are a pet-friendly senior living community where pets are not only allowed but treasured. Our 70-acre campus includes the Wellness Park, a dedicated dog park enjoyed by all JKV residents, whether or not they have a dog of their own. We offer lots of “pet-centric” activities and events throughout the year for all our residents to enjoy, including visits from Canine Companions’ pet therapy dogs, pet parades, photo shoots, pet costume contests and more.  It’s just one of the things that makes John Knox Village so special. 

We’d love to tell you more. Call us at (754) 231-1411 to schedule a tour.

Why a Life Plan Retirement Community is a Wise Investment

The decision to move to a Life Plan Retirement Community (also known as Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC) is a wise investment in many ways, especially when older adults consider where they would like to age well with purpose, and what a perfect life looks like in retirement. Many Life Plan Communities (LPCs) offer rich social and cultural experiences, excellent health care, security, and peace of mind. Financial professionals and estate planners are increasingly advising clients to consider a move to an LPC as it is a responsible option that provides a rewarding lifestyle and ensures long-term health care if the need arises. Residents who choose to live in LPCs are relieved of the stress of becoming a burden to their family, friends and the state as they age.

According to AARP, “The chief benefit of LPCs/CCRCs is that they provide a wide range of care, services and activities in one place, offering residents a sense of stability and familiarity as their abilities or health conditions change. A resident can start out living independently…and later transition to assisted living to get more help with daily activities, or to skilled nursing to receive more medical care, while remaining in the same community.”

Moving to a Life Plan Community Makes Financial Sense

Older adults face a variety of choices when planning for their future lifestyle and health care needs. The rising cost of medical care in the U.S., especially long-term care, has made understanding options very important.

Investing in the future at a Life Plan Community like John Knox Village of Florida (JKV) in Pompano Beach is a proactive move. It comes with the added value of providing health care that may be needed and affords a tangible sense of security for aging in place. An LPC like JKV requires that a resident be in good health when moving in, who can then enjoy independent living in a beautiful home with an active lifestyle for as long as possible.

Scott Montgomery, Financial Advisor to high-net-worth families at Provenance Wealth Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida says he has often seen clients procrastinate on making a plan by thinking, “I still have time.” But as he notes, “Things can change quickly.”  Says Scott, “This is another strategy – a way to ensure that if you run through your money, you’re not going to have to rely on your children.”  

Montgomery feels it is a moral responsibility for professional advisors to talk to their clients about long-term care.  He says, “If your financial advisor is not counseling you about long-term care, then reach out to someone who is.”

Life Plan Community Options

NaCCRA (National Continuing Care Residents Association) publishes a Consumer’s Guide as a reference on what to consider when choosing such a move. According to NaCCRA, “It is important, when contemplating a CCRC/LPC, and especially when comparing one to another based on price, to be sure to understand the different types of contracts which are offered.”

There are variations in contracts, however. The two main contracts to consider for moving to an LPC are “Type A” and “Type C”.

A Type A contract is often referred to as a full-care, inclusive contract.  At JKV, this contract covers:

  • The entrance fee
  • The monthly service fee based on the size of the home selected
  • Unlimited future health care needs with admission to Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing
  • All located on JKVs botanical, lush 70-acre campus

The Type C contract is usually referred to as a “fee-for” service contract. At JKV, the Type C contract provides:

  • The same services as the Type A without the health care benefit:
    • With Type C, the resident pays for Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing care services as needed, out of pocket
    • JKV Residents are charged the prevailing rate for these services with a 10% discount

John Knox Village of Florida, Inc. is a not-for-profit, internationally award-winning Life Plan Retirement Community of choice for those seeking an upscale, enriched lifestyle, world-class programming, stress-free living, and if needed, unlimited use of health care services on campus, with 24/7 wellness nurses. JKV allows seniors to plan for their future needs while enjoying resort-style amenities, life-long learning programs and a full range of services that promote wellness of mind, body and spirit. Through unwavering commitment to excellence and guiding principles, the team brings the unique JKV experience to life every day for 1,000 residents.


Call to schedule lunch and a one-on-one visit with a Life Plan Consultant at 954-820-6199


Seniors Have a New Option for Living Well: Life Plan Communities

If you’re an active senior, the decision about whether or not to move to a senior living community can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many options. It’s important to understand what each option offers.

Here’s a closer look at each one.

Aging in Place

Many people feel they want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. The appeal of that is certainly understandable. It seems like the easiest option, requires no great life change, and there’s the obvious comfort level that comes with staying where everything feels familiar. 

However, aging in place may not be a realistic option for those with who may face serious health concerns at some point, or who are no longer physically and financially able to attend to home maintenance. Without adequate planning and support, a medical or home repair emergency could present a significant financial burden or other undesired outcomes.   

Rental Communities

Of all your options, moving into a rental community has the lowest entry cost.  You simply sign a lease, pay a security deposit, possibly some community fees and move in.  Some senior rental communities may partner with area organizations that offer higher care, but they are not required to provide you with any health care or any guidance. Any healthcare services or long-term care you might ever need are not included in your rental cost.

Life Plan Communities

Life plan communities, also known as continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) provide the security of having a plan in place for any future health care needs that might arise. Residents live independentlywhile enjoying life with peace of mind, knowing if they ever need care, they’ll have it.  Most CCRCs offer multiple service levels: independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support services, all available if you need them. 

Why Choose a Life Plan Community?

The initial cost of moving to a life plan community can start around $185,000 and assures that the health care costs of assisted living or memory care down the road, should you need them, will already be covered.  It allows you to put a plan in place, allowing you to make decisions for yourself, without leaving potentially big decisions up to someone else to make on your behalf.   

Why Now?

The decision to move is a big one, and a personal one at that.  Moving into a life plan community while you still qualify to do so can secure your future and protect your wealth in a way that aging in place, and traditional senior living communities cannot.  It is an investment in yourself, and one that ensures that you have a plan in place, regardless of possible future health care needs. 


With award-winning programming, including fitness, arts, lifelong learning and social events, along with a new aquatic complex and cultural arts center, John Knox Village’s amenities are unsurpassed. Come see why JKV has been rated one of the top life plan communities in North America by the International Council for Active Aging. Call for a no-pressure conversation today to learn more. Watch a virtual tour, or contact us to schedule an onsite tour to see what sets us apart.