Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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a new view on growing older

Atria Darien Pets Make Residents Feel Stronger and Younger

Posted on June 26, 2014 by Admin

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Since the days of Herodotus (1 B.C.), tales of a mythical Fountain of Youth have captivated us, so much so that modern doctors and scientists have spent billions of dollars on the quest to develop solutions for reversing the traces of aging.

So, what if feeling younger was simpler than the tricks medical science has offered in the past 50 years?

What if it was as simple as caring for a pet?

“Having pets around makes residents feel ‘invincible,’” reports Becky Gallucci, Engage Life Director at Atria Darien. “They feel stronger and younger.”

The community, located in Darien, Connecticut, has about 20 pets residing there, including 12 dogs, a handful of cats and one sassy bird named Happy.

Owned by resident and ICAA Champion Joan T., Happy is not only a chatterbox, he also personally greets new acquaintances by coming out of his cage and bobbing his head.. At age 95, Joan has spent a lifetime dedicated in the service of animals as a supporter of the Bronx Zoo and member of the Wildlife Conservation Society.


The community also has a nice balance of small and large dogs, although a few of them are on the “quite large” side of the spectrum. Brandy, for example, is a briard, a breed that can weigh up to 100 pounds!

Wendy Winnick-Baskin, Senior Executive Director at the community, brings her standard poodle, Zappa, to work every day.

The Community Business Director, Christina Brunetti-Colon, and her pup, Chili, also bring a burst of energy into the community. Residents come out of their apartments just to chat with Zappa and Chili.

Becky reports, “Residents will drop their cane or walker to walk their dog. Because it’s for their dog, they feel as though they can do anything. They’re the caregiver at that moment.”


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