Assisted living for dog owners
Moving into assisted living together with your dog is not a simple decision to take. First and foremost, you need to be absolutely certain that the assisted living community is pet-friendly. Second, you should ask about the available services and amenities, as well as the associated costs. As you might be aware, having a dog can get expensive, especially as they get older and need more care. Aside from the pet feeding and grooming costs, you might have to factor in the potential veterinary care and medication. These expenses fall in the responsibility of the dog owner, so you need to take some time and think about your available budget.
You will also need to determine what will happen, should your health status prevent you from looking after your dog. As time passes, you might deal with changes in your health, including the limited mobility or cognitive decline. There is a definite chance that you will no longer be able to look after your dog. In some assisted living communities, pet care might be available at extra cost. The services will include feeding, grooming, and walking the dog. Be sure to check out the pet-friendly policy of the respective senior living facility before moving in.
Even though this might not be an easy thing to think about, you will have to consider the potential risks. For instance, it might be difficult to walk your dog if you are struggling with balance issues and you present a risk of falling. Dogs need proper training to behave, and you might need to fit these costs into your budget. You might contact NGOs that offer training for service dogs and request their help. Service dogs are trained to adapt to the needs of their owner.
Choosing a dog-friendly assisted living facility
If you have decided to move into an assisted living community, the first thing to inquire about is their pet-friendly policy. Like many other seniors, you have come to think of your dog as your family, and it is normal to bring him/her along. As previously stated, these facilities have understood the deep connection between a senior and his/her pet, allowing dogs on their premises.
Pet ownership is thoroughly regulated in most assisted living facilities. As a general rule, residents might be allowed only one or two dogs, without large or aggressive breeds being allowed. An additional deposit might be required to be paid, but it is worth remembering that such facilities do not accept pets that are not trained or exotic animals. Dogs must be trained and have no history of aggressive behaviors. If the other residents complain about the noise or inadequate behavior regularly, the respective dog might have to leave. Proof of vaccination must be offered before the actual move. It is also essential to designate a pet caretaker, should something happen to you.
While it is not easy to make the transition from your own home to assisted living, having your dog near you might make the whole process bearable. Nonetheless, there are practical aspects you have to take into consideration. Is the dog trained and accustomed to living indoors? A dog who has been kept in the open outdoors might require a longer period to adjust to the new environment. What are the restrictions imposed by the senior living facility? It might be a good idea to inquire about these before committing to a contract. You will have to plan the respective care and what will happen if your health deteriorates. Of course, the budget must be considered as well, with the costs of pet ownership factored in.
Services and amenities offered by pet-friendly senior living centers
The good news is that many assisted living facilities provide pet-related services and amenities. They are willing to adapt to the needs and preferences of their residents, developing pet care programs as a result. While seniors can take their dog out for a walk, it is worth mentioning that there are also dog-walking services available. Both the vet and pet groomer might be conveniently located on the campus. However, it is important to keep in mind that such services are often available at extra cost.
In certain assisted living communities, there is a pet coordinator designed, who is responsible for the supervision of all the pets on the premises. The respective employee will contribute to the well-being of dogs, with the assistance of the owners. Seniors often come to think of their dogs as family, so it is only normal to want the best for them. Some of the responsibilities of the pet coordinator might include: walking the dog, cleaning up after him/her, organizing vet appointments, administering medication, etc. They might also provide grooming services, ensuring that the vaccinations are up to date. Usually, pet coordinators assume the responsibilities seniors could no longer handle.
Depending on the assisted living facility, senior residents who own a dog might be allowed to make small adjustments to their living quarters, so as to accommodate their furry friend. Dog crates or beds are allowed, as well as toys for them to chew and play with. Payment plans might be designed to cover the associated costs, including for food, preventative care, and medication. Personalized pet care might be available at extra cost. The staff will meet both the owner and the dog, so as to learn all about their needs. A personalized care plan will be developed, with consideration to both the dog and his/her human parent. Meetings will be organized at regular intervals to determine whether a resident is able to look after his/her dog.
Modern studies have confirmed that seniors who have a pet maintain a better state of health, both physical and mental. A dog can keep a senior more active, as he/she must be walked and cared for. At the same time, the interaction with a playful canine companion will be beneficial whereas brain health is concerned, reducing the risk of cognitive decline and memory impairment. Acknowledging the pet-related benefits, an increased number of assisted living facilities have started to welcome dog owners. They have created specific services and amenities for them, with consideration to the particularities of looking after pets. Nowadays, we are seeing countless communities of this kind adopting a pet-friendly policy, accepting seniors and their four-legged friends.
What are the benefits of owning a dog in an assisted living facility?
The main benefit of owning a dog is the increased level of activity for the senior. Other studies have shown that having a pet will help seniors maintain their sense of purpose. As many older adults will be happy to declare, their dog is one of the main reasons for which they are getting up in the morning. They value the companionship of their furry friends, as they help them fight loneliness. A dog might also be beneficial in helping seniors overcome the grief process, giving them the incentive to heal and return to their day-to-day existence.
It is a known fact that there are plenty of other benefits that come with owning a dog. Numerous studies have confirmed that dog owners are less stressed, the proximity of their pet promoting a sense of calm. Moreover, with the dog around, one feels less alone and more relaxed. It has been determined that canine companionship can reduce the risk of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Socialization is guaranteed with a dog, and even those who suffer from dementia might be more interested in interacting with other dog owners. Last, but not least, the physical activity resulting from having a dog can lower the risk of heart attacks.
Within an assisted living community, a dog will guarantee plenty of opportunities for social interaction. The furry friend might draw the attention of the other residents, who might consider the benefits of having a pet themselves. As for the dog owner, he/she will have a lot of people to interact with, including the groomer, veterinary doctor, and pet care coordinator. Thus, he/she will develop a network of support, with activities to fill the daily routine. Dogs are loyal creatures, ready to offer their unconditional love. Many seniors report a pure feeling of happiness resulting from the presence of their canine companions.
Questions to ask before moving into a pet-friendly assisted living community
Before moving into an assisted living community, you might consider visiting the campus and making inquiries about the services offered. During the tour, you can ask questions, including about their pet-friendly policy. As you will see for yourself, the staff will be prepared to answer such questions in depth, so that you can decide whether the respective community is suitable for you or not.
These are some of the most important questions you might consider asking:
- Is veterinary care available on campus?
- Are dogs included in pet therapy programs?
- Are dog crates and/or beds allowed in the living quarters? What about various toys?
- What is the plan for seniors who are no longer able to care for their dogs? Do I have to designate a pet caretaker?
- What is the policy in case the other residents are allergic to dogs?
- Does the facility have a pet care coordinator? What are the things he/she can help with?
- How many dogs are allowed per senior in this assisted living center?
- Are there pet-related restrictions?
- What are the pet-ownership costs? Are payment plans allowed?
- Do you offer personalized pet care? Are the plans developed with consideration to both the owner and his/her pets?
- What are some of the things I should know about the pet-friendly policy?
Dogs are excellent companions for seniors, helping them retain a sense of purpose and fight loneliness. Assisted living facilities often accept seniors with dogs, acknowledging the advantages of having a pet companion. Before moving into a particular senior living community, it might be a good idea to inquire about their pet-friendly policy and any related information, restrictions included.
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