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Assisted living facilities are a wonderful way for senior adults to transition from living on their own to living in full-time care while still maintaining some independence. Many assisted living facilities are now pet friendly, so you can have the joy of being around animals even after you transition into assisted living care. There are many benefits of pet friendly assisted living facilities. Here's what to expect, pros and cons, and whether or not pet friendly assisted living is right for you.

What is assisted living?

Pet Friendly Assisted Living

Can all pets come to assisted living?

Will I receive help caring for my pet?

Will there be other pets around?

Is my pet right for assisted living?

Benefits of pets in assisted living

Drawbacks to pets in assisted living

Caring for pets in assisted living

Find pet friendly assisted living near me

What is assisted living?

Assisted living is a difficult term because there's not one official definition for it. Typically, assisted living centers offer a customizable level of care for their residents that still allows them to be mostly independent, but helps them with any daily tasks they may be struggling with. The customizable nature of assisted living communities makes these senior living facilities a good fit for many seniors, because retirees have their own apartment and a sense of ownership over their space, but can receive care as needed, so they'll stay as healthy as possible.

Pet Friendly Assisted Living Basics

Many assisted living facilities are now becoming pet friendly. There are so many benefits to having pets in senior care facilities, so it makes sense that communities are now offering this feature to their residents. Since residents in assisted living facilities still have their own apartments, it makes sense to be able to bring a beloved pet with you to assisted living care. A pet companion helps to make the space feel more like home. Seniors with dogs and cats tend to be happier and less lonely than older people who do not have any pets. Assisted living centers recognize the fact that seniors who own dogs or cats get many health benefits from keeping a pet, but also a dog or a cat can help a senior pet owner to stay mentally and physically active. Many assisted living facilities now offer various pet amenities and not only accept seniors with cats and dogs, but encourage pet ownership. Conveniently located dog runs and pet grooming services are becoming popular in many pet friendly assisted living communities.

Can all pets come to assisted living?

Since every assisted living community is different, they each have very different policies regarding which animals can and can't live with you in your new space. Typically, there's some sort of screening process to determine if the animals are appropriate. In many cases, the animal must be under 20 pounds, which can be limiting to dog owners, or there are restrictions on certain breeds. However, many facilities are now starting to screen on a case by case basis to decide if the animal can stay at assisted living. The staff would meet the animal and their owner and make their decision based off of the animal's behavior as well as the owner's health and ability to care of the pet safely.

Will I receive help caring for my pet?

At most pet friendly facilities, your pet will be mainly your responsibility. Even in old age, you'll know best how you want your dog or cat to be taken care of. However, some facilities are seeing the popularity of having a pet in assisted living, and are now hiring staff members specifically to help with pet care. Just because you need some assistance in caring for your animal in old age doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to enjoy their company. If you need assistance in caring for your pet, be sure to check with your assisted living facility about what options they offer for pet care before making a final decision.

Will there be other pets around?

Other residents will likely have pets in their apartments, but you and your pet won't interact with them unless you choose to do so. Some facilities will have restrictions on where in the community pets are allowed to protect residents with allergies. On the other hand, many assisted living communities now have community pets, which are very helpful for raising resident's moods. Many pet friendly facilities have an easier time caring for community cats, dogs and other pets, because they can choose animals that have a great temperament for being around seniors, and they can manage all the care themselves. This helps keep facilities clean. Be sure to clarify with any pet friendly assisted living community about whether this term means you can bring your own pet, or whether there are just pets on the premises for the community.

Is my pet right for assisted living?

Not all animals are a good fit for assisted living facilities. It's important to consider whether your pet would be happy and safe in an assisted living facility before bringing them there. Smaller pets are typically better for assisted living, because you won't have as much space there as you might have in your old house. It's also important that your pet has a relatively calm temperament. A dog that's always barking or running around the building can be overwhelming or even dangerous to other residents. If your active dog needs lots of exercise and is constantly running around, other seniors could trip over them. Pets that need extensive, very specific care regimes are also not typically a great fit for assisted living, because as you get older and need more help with daily tasks, you may not be able to keep up with them. You'll also be limited as to the resources you can provide for your pet. Ideally, the best pets for assisted living are small, friendly, and calm. If you’re looking to adopt a new pet in assisted living, check with your facility to see what breeds or types of animals they would recommend.

Benefits of pets in assisted living

There are so many benefits to having pets with you in assisted living. Pets are great for people of all ages, but they are particularly great for seniors during this unique time in their lives. One of the biggest reasons to have a dog or a cat is that they are incredibly helpful at keeping your moods positive. Having an animal companion is a very effective way to ward off depression, which unfortunately is something many seniors experience, especially after transitioning into retirement and moving into a new facility. Not only do pets keep you from feeling lonely, but their sweet and charming behavior will put a smile on your face every day. This increased mood is great for your physical health as well - when you’re doing well mentally and emotionally, your body has an easier time fighting off illnesses, and you’ll have more energy as well.

Pets are also great for seniors because they help them stick to a daily routine and give life some structure. When you have a pet, there are certain activities that need to get done each day, which is very helpful for getting seniors to have some structure in their lives. They can plan their day around their animal companion when they’re struggling, which is especially important in the very unstructured lifestyle that retirement often provides.

Additionally, pets encourage seniors to stay active, which is something that's very important but often overlooked for seniors. Dogs in particular force seniors to get out and take a walk every day, but even cats and other pets encourage gentle activity, which is great for a senior's overall health. Many seniors become very stationary in old age, which can result in muscles and bones weakening, leading to chronic pain and other problems. Pets also encourage social activity, something else that's very important for seniors. Not only is interacting with your dog or cat social in itself, but having a pet also makes it easier to meet other pet owners. Many seniors don't get the social interaction they need after they stop working, and having a pet can make it easier to have positive interactions with others.

The multiple benefits of having a pet in assisted living has led many facilities to be much more welcoming to seniors and their pets. The research shows that pets are great for seniors' health and well-being, and seniors make great pet owners too. Seniors can rescue pets that might otherwise never have found a home and give them a comfortable and happy place to live. Since they have more free time than the average person, they make very attentive pet owners as well.

Drawbacks to pets in assisted living

There are a few drawbacks to having pets in assisted living facilities. The first is that you may not always be able to take care of your pet as well as you can now if your health is in decline. This is very important to consider before moving your pet into an assisted living facility. Ideally, you should have someone available who can take care of your pet if you eventually cannot, such as a family member or a friend. You should talk to your assisted living community about how they handle such transitions.

The other major drawback to having pets in assisted living is that they may not have enough space to freely roam around. This is why it's best to have small pets in assisted living, because they are better suited to the small apartment-style living you'll find there. Before moving a pet into assisted living, it may be helpful to talk to your vet about how to best keep them comfortable and happy. Your vet is a good resource for information and advice about moving a pet into a new space. Overall, the benefits of having a pet with you in senior care outweigh the drawbacks, but it's still important to be aware before moving into a new facility.

Caring for pets in assisted living

It's important that your pet gets the best care you can give them, regardless of where you live. When you move into an assisted living space, be sure to bring your pet's favorite blankets and toys to help the new apartment feel a little bit more like home. You'll also want to designate some spaces in the apartment where they can hang out, and really ensure they have enough room to roam around. You'll also want to make sure that there are good places within your assisted living space to put things like food bowls and litter boxes. It's crucial that you can still keep the space clean, as you're more likely to trip on clutter as you get older.

Additionally, if your pet likes to go outside, make sure they get time each day to go out and get some exercise. Many senior assisted living communities have outdoor spaces that are perfect for this, so you won't have to take them far. Clean up after your pet when they're outside, and be sure to be polite with them around other seniors, who may not have the same experiences with pets that you do. It's also important to make sure your pet behaves in common spaces inside out of respect to your fellow residents. Chances are, they'll be thrilled to have an animal in the assisted living facility and want to make friends, but it's always better to err on the side of caution.

Locate pet friendly assisted living near me

Bringing your pet into assisted living with you is a wonderful option, and an increasing number of facilities are finally starting to see why it's so beneficial for senior health and well-being. It's important to have a very thorough conversation with the management at your assisted living facility to make sure both you and your pet will be happy there. You should be sure to give a detailed overview of your pet, what they're like, and any special needs they may have, so that your senior care facility can be aware and plan ahead to support you as needed. Pet friendly facilities are often happy to be flexible with you, but it's important to keep them informed. It's also important to ask if there are any extra costs associated with bringing a pet, so you aren't surprised later on.

If you're looking for a pet friendly assisted living facility, there are thousands around the country. At you can easily locate pet friendly assisted living near you. Chances are, there are at least several pet friendly assisted living facilities in your area that allow you to bring your furry companions with you into assisted living. Having your pet with you can make this difficult transition much easier, so don't be scared to do a little bit of extra searching to find the right facility for you and your pet.

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