The happiest retirees are stimulated by multiple things daily. About three to four hobbies generally keep seniors happy and content, while just one or two activities may leave them bored or complacent. As seniors progress in age, this kind of active engagement becomes even more critical for both happiness and health.
And down in one Tennessee assisted living home, a special kind of senior citizen is providing some much needed activity. Izzy, a 10-year-old mixed breed dog recently moved into the Brookdale Kingston assisted living center with her owner about a year ago. The residents and staff took to her well, and provided them with the comfort and engagement they needed to make their stays welcoming.
“[The tenant’s] apartment was two doors down from my office and Izzy would frequently come to see me,” said Lesa Fuller, Brookdale Kingston’s sales and marketing manager.
When Izzy’s owner passed away, her future was uncertain. The tenant’s family members were unable to take her in, and Brookdale Kingston couldn’t bear to see her go. So they quickly came up with a solution and decided to adopt her.
“We realized her home was here with us and so she has stayed,” said Fuller.
Izzy now serves as the full-time front desk greeter, welcoming every visitor with a smile and wag of her tail. She’s formed special bonds with a number of the other residents as well and has helped keep them stimulated.
An older lady herself, Izzy suffers from severe cataracts and hearing loss, and also has some gray fur. But that doesn’t stop her from socializing with the residents or playing with her favorite toy, a rubber chicken. She is never is short supply of pets and ear scratches from visitors and residents alike, and she also attends all regularly scheduled facility events to mingle with her new family.
Izzy has become somewhat of a local celebrity among residents’ families. She’s frequently featured on the Brookdale Kingston Facebook page, where she gets a lot of love and likes. Over the holidays she was spoiled with plenty of treats, which caused her to feel unwell. But these days she’s back to being herself.
It seems that taking Izzy in is one of the best decisions that the facility could have made.
“She is part of the family here now,” said Fuller.