An Assisted Living Residence for Seniors + Animal Shelter Open Access
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An assisted living residence for seniors + animal shelter This thesis proposes to synthesize the need of socialization for animals in shelters and the benefits of interacting with animals for seniors in assisted living residences. By designing a hybrid living facility that is both an assisted living residence and an animal shelter, both groups will have access to each other and can realize mutual health benefits. Dogs in shelters stand a greater chance for adoption if their stress level is kept relatively low, because they exhibit calm, approachable and friendly behavior--desirable among pet owners. Socialization with people can help reduce the stress that animals feel in shelter environments and make them more adoptable. Meanwhile, many seniors living in assisted living residences who experience a decline in their physical, mental and emotional health have seen improvements when exposed to animal therapy. Simply petting a dog lowers blood pressure and stress levels. Animals in shelters and seniors in assisted living residences are two populations that need each other: The seniors help socialize the animals, and the animals help the seniors stay active and engaged. Designing an integrated facility--a progressively-designed, fully ADA shelter within an assisted living residence--ensures that both seniors and animals can access one another.