Our pets are adored family members that provide much-needed companionship, but pet ownership is also known to help older Australians enjoy healthier and more independent lives in retirement.
For older Australians looking for the right retirement lifestyle for themselves and their furry friends, finding a pet-friendly option can be an important factor in the community they choose.
For Christine Fogg, owner of Teddy the Maltese-Shih Tzu, having a pet-friendly environment was what sealed the deal for her move to Ingenia Gardens Taree.
"I was looking for safety and security and when I read that Ingenia Gardens Taree was pet-friendly it made choosing this community easy," Ms Fogg said.
"It would be hard to live in a community without Teddy but Ingenia Gardens Taree is a wonderful place and we are very settled and happy here - he's made a lot of friends with other residents and their pets."
Ingenia Gardens Taree community manager Amanda Howton said pets are important to the community's residents, not only as beloved companions, but in helping them to stay independent and active.
"Being a pet-friendly community is an incredibly valuable way we can enable our residents to live fulfilled lives. I believe pet-ownership is very therapeutic and it gives residents purpose and invaluable joy.
"Especially for those who are bit shy - when they're with their pets or talking about them it really helps them to open up and socialise.
"The whole Taree community dotes on the pets like they're members of the community - because they are."
Owning pets has made a significant difference to Ms Fogg's day-to-day life, helping to combat loneliness and encouraging her to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, taking advantage of Taree's close proximity to the William Wynter Park and the Manning River.
"Teddy definitely keeps me fit. I take him for a walk four times a day and it's very good for us both - we can walk around the village grounds, chat to the other residents and visit the nearby park.
"I'd be lost without Teddy, he really is my best friend and I'm never lonely with him here. Many of us don't go anywhere without our pets because they're so dear to us.
"Having pets in the community has also been very beneficial for other residents without pets; they just love Teddy and he brings a lot of joy and love to their lives too," Ms Fogg said.
"Ingenia Gardens is a very welcoming community and allowing us to have pets has definitely made a positive difference to living out our retirement Teddy and I are just so happy here."
Ingenia Gardens has pet-friendly communities in Taree, Tamworth, Port Macquarie and Goulburn. To find out more visit www.ingeniagardens.com.au
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