True Companions in Senior Living

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These four women are enjoying the perks of living in pet-friendly communities.

Regardless of age, the joy a pet can bring to one’s life is undeniable.  While research over the years has shown that pets can provide certain health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, their most important gift is that of companionship.

Just ask Dolores Saynuk, Libby Anderson, Alice Cowger and Velma Keck.  As residents of Brightview Senior Living communities, they are already relishing the vibrant environments, various amenities and security of healthcare services found at their respective homes.  And thanks to their accommodating staffs, they get to enjoy the extra perk of having a furry friend.

Dolores Saynuk and Libby Anderson are two of many residents who care for Carlie like a grandchild!

At Brightview Avondell in Bel Air, Dolores Saynuk and Libby Anderson are among the many residents in love with the community’s ‘mascot,’ Carlie the dog.

“She spends time with the residents; she’ll go up to their apartments and stay with them if they need a pick-me-up or hug,” said Community Sales Associate, Donna Panzer.

Carlie was originally bought by a resident named Linda, who suddenly became sick and had asked the executive director, Eileen to ensure the dog would have a good home. Since stepping in to care for Carlie, Eileen has brought her to the community every day.

“I love that Carlie brings me lots of love and fun.  She lies on my bed, snuggled up in my blankets and comes to me for treats,” said Dolores.

Libby, who often takes Carlie on walks, could not be happier that Avondell allows pets, knowing the impact they have had on her.  “I find that having a pet to love and talk to can bring me out of an anxiety attack or being down in the dumps,” she said.  “Carlie can make me smile and get over that real quick.”

Libby’s smile is not the only one seen throughout Avondell, as she and Dolores agree that pets aside, their community provides a warm and welcoming environment. Offering independent and assisted living services, the community boasts a range of activities and events, from happy hours to fitness classes.

“I love everybody here and we have so much to do,” said Libby.  “When I go out, I look forward to coming back here.  I always have a good time with friends and the staff and it’s just a fabulous place to be, really and truly.”


Baltimore retirement community resident

Alice Cowger loves the companionship of her beloved cat Maggie.

moved to Baltimore in 1945, she immediately felt at home.  Now, she has that same feeling living at Brightview Mays Chapel Ridge, an independent and assisted living community in Timonium that also offers award-winning Alzheimer’s care.

“I came here quite by accident.  I was driving by one day with a girlfriend and wanted to see what it was all about,” she said.  After meeting with the director, Alice revisited the community with her son who fully supported the idea knowing she would be free of the worries of maintaining her apartment and able to stay in the immediate area.

A year after moving to Mays Chapel Ridge, the great-grandmother of seven inquired about bringing a cat to the community.  Delighted to find out she could, she adopted Maggie from the SPCA.

“They were so nice about letting me have her here,” said Alice.  “Now, residents look at Maggie and talk about how they would like to have a pet.”

With her companion who is always there to greet her, Alice never feels alone, but she would have to say the camaraderie among residents and staff has also contributed to the feeling of ‘home’ at Mays Chapel Ridge.  If she needs to leave for a few days, she knows the residents or staff will gladly feed and take care of Maggie.

“I never looked back or was sorry I moved.  This is a great place to live, all the people are so congenial and I would recommend it to anybody,” she said.  “I can’t think of a place that would be better for me and Maggie.”

Ben (“Benny”)
While Libby, Dolores and Alice had pets come into their lives after moving to their communities, it was the fact that she could bring her dog, Benny, to Brightview Westminster Ridge that strongly appealed to

dog in maryland assisted living

Velma Keck knew there was no way she would move without her beloved dog.

when she had been researching options.

Having lived in Maryland most of her life, the mother of three moved with her husband to Rehoboth for a few years.  When he passed away, Velma’s daughter convinced her to move back.  While living in a condo, however, she had a couple of falling incidents and knew it was time to look into a community that could offer her security for the future.

It was extremely important for Velma, however, to find a home that would welcome her dog, Benny, who she had adopted from the SPCA when he was just four months.  “I love him dearly and I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to him,” she said.  “He’s my little buddy.”

Fortunately, Westminster Ridge, a community that provides independent, assisted and Alzheimer’s care is well-known for welcoming pets.

“We were actually one of the first communities in Carroll County to have a dog park,” said Karen Holstein, community sales director. “Our residents that have pets absolutely love the fact that the entire community, even those that do not have pets, embrace the concept of their choice.”

With the amenities at Westminster Ridge and other Brightview communities, including housekeeping, laundry services and chef-prepared meals, Velma enjoys having the time to take Benny to the park and introducing him to fellow residents.

“I love everybody I’ve met here,” said Velma.  “It’s great being around people my age and in the same boat.”

An Added Bonus
With an abundance of fun activities, supportive staffs and freedom from home maintenance, it is clear these four women could not be happier with the communities they have chosen, and that the ability to have the companionship of a pet is just the ‘cherry on top.’

As Donna from Avondell said with a smile, “Pets in general are wonderful.  They give compassion, unconditional love and they don’t talk back.”

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