Lifting spirits with four paws

TROY — Despite the pandemic putting a stop to outside visitors entering retirement communities, StoryPoint in Troy has found a way to continue one of their favorite programs with residents, with the help of some furry friends.

“During the pandemic we had to work hard to develop our standards and keep making those meaningful connections with residents. We thought, you know, pet therapy is so important, not only to our memory care residents, but to our entire community. So, we were brainstorming how we can keep that standard going,” Life Enrichment Director Brooke Schutte said. “We talked to some of our employees and were like, you’re coming to work every single day, let’s start encouraging our employees to start bringing their pups so that we can keep those meaningful engagements happening with our residents.”

Before the revised puppy therapy program, StoryPoint would have service dogs come in to visit residents, or local citizens in the Troy area they had partnered with. While it was upsetting to have to put an end to their traditional style of programming with puppy therapy in order to comply with health and safety guidelines, the program is thriving now more than ever. Employees are able to bring in their pets multiple times a week; before, residents were able to have pet therapy once or twice every couple of weeks. An added bonus is that residents will get a lot of one-on-one time with the animals, and form a bond with them because they see them with more frequency.

“It’s not like that staff member has to take that pup around, it’s literally just life enrichment, and getting those interactions with the residents,” Schutte said. “It kind of worked out better.”

According to Schutte, they can have anywhere from one to three pups visit in the same week, and that residents have been greatly enjoying the time they get with each pup.

“Smiles are ear to ear. It’s pure joy as soon as we walk through, especially with memory care—it’s so important to them. As soon as we walk through the door, we see their pups and they want to come love on them and snuggle them, and take them out to our courtyard and let them run around.” Schutte said. “It’s so purposeful to them, when they are there.”

StoryPoint Troy, a sister community to Independence Village, offers both independent living, assisted living and memory care options to seniors in Troy and surrounding areas.

StoryPoint Troy is located at 1840 Towne Park Drive in Troy. To learn more about the community’s full services and amenities or to speak with the StoryPoint team, call (937) 440-3600.