Why pets aren’t a barrier to living in a retirement development

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a huge rise in pet ownership rise as people spent more time at home and wanted a companion and they were around to look after it.

A survey undertaken in September by investment company LetterOne[i] found that nearly half of all Brits who currently own a pet got at least one new furry friend during lockdown – and 10% of British households currently without pets intend to get one in the next six months.

It was also reported last year that the Kennel Club[ii] saw a 180% increase in enquiries from potential dog owners and pet insurance providers noted a 78% increase in people registering new pets in the week prior to UK lockdown[iii].

As a nation of pet lovers often older people can be concerned that if they want to move to a retirement development, they wouldn’t be able to take their pet, but according to Girlings Retirement Rentals this is not usually the case.

Jamie Turnbull, Business Director at Girlings Retirement Rentals says, “It’s a myth that renting in a retirement development stops someone having a pet. We have many properties in developments where pets are allowed and many of our residents have dogs and cats. We understand that having a pet as a companion is good for wellbeing. Dogs also need walking so people benefit physically from taking daily walks.

“We expect to see growing demand from retirees who have pets in the next few years. Moving to a retirement development can bring many benefits such as being part of a sociable community and no longer having to worry about ongoing property maintenance.  If people have pets, we encourage them to get in touch and we can advise them which properties would be most suitable.”

One Girlings resident who had two dogs when she moved in is Avril Sweeney. She moved into her retirement apartment in Poplar Court in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire five years ago. She came across the development while visiting friends in Poplar Court and thought it could be a good place for her and dogs as it had French doors opening onto an outdoor seating area, and was only five minutes’ walk from the seafront.

Avril enquired about the apartment and checked if her dogs would be allowed, which they were, and she moved in. An unexpected benefit for Avril was the security of the development. She was still working at the time and while she was at work, she felt reassured that her apartment and her dogs were safe. She knew if anyone came to her home who wasn’t supposed someone would notice.

Last year Avril retired and has been able to benefit much more from living in a retirement community. She explains, “I really enjoy the social side of living here which I wasn’t thinking about when I moved in five years ago. Retiring from work can mean worrying about how to fill your days but there’s so much going on, it’s made that transition much easier. My days are so full I don’t know how I ever had time to work!”

Avril adds, “When I hear stories about lonely older people, I always wonder how that has happened. I don’t understand why you’d want to live alone in a three bedroom house with all those rooms to clean and heat when you could move into a lovely apartment like mine. I’m all for retirement living!

“If you want to do your own thing you don’t have to join in but I think people live longer here because they have company and their minds are more active. People often tell me they wish they’d made the move to retirement living earlier. I’m so glad I moved here when I did so I can enjoy more years of having a great social life.”

To find out more about renting a home in a retirement development visit www.girlings.co.uk