Senior Resources » Assisted Living » Meow-Meow! A Comprehensive Guide to Pet-Friendly Assisted Living Facilities

Meow-Meow! A Comprehensive Guide to Pet-Friendly Assisted Living Facilities

It’s no secret that people love their pets. And why wouldn’t they? Pets provide immeasurable joy and companionship in the lives of their owners, especially during times of upheaval. This may ring especially true for seniors who are moving into assisted living facilities. Of course, as seniors consider the move to a retirement community, one question that may arise is whether or not your pet can come with you. To pet owners, leaving behind furry family members is unthinkable. The good news is, many assisted living facilities are now pet-friendly. Here’s everything you need to know about bringing your pets to assisted living.


1. Types of Pets Allowed

Typically, assisted living facilities have specific guidelines regarding pets. Generally speaking, they do allow cats and dogs. There may, however, be restrictions on the size, breed, and number of pets allowed. Some facilities may also allow birds, rabbits, or other small animals. Make sure that you check the facility beforehand to ensure your pet meets their criteria!

2. Pet Care Responsibilities

When bringing a pet to assisted living, you’re still responsible for their care. From feeding them to taking them on walks, it’s important to make sure your furry friend is happy and healthy! Some facilities may offer pet care services for an additional fee, such as dog walking or grooming. However, you need to clarify what services are available and how much they cost.


3. Pet-Friendly Amenities

Assisted living facilities may offer various pet-friendly amenities, such as outdoor spaces for walking or designated areas for pets to relieve themselves. Some facilities may even offer dog parks or pet grooming stations.

4. Pet Policies

Pet-friendly policies may vary from facility to facility. Some facilities may require a pet deposit, while others may require specific pet-related documents, such as vaccination records. Additionally, some facilities may have specific rules regarding pet behavior. If your dog is aggressive toward other dogs, staff, or residents, then it might not be permitted into the facility. Likewise, exotic animals, like snakes or certain birds, might also not meet the criteria. So, always check and double-check the rules before you sign anything!

Preparing Your Pet for Assisted Living

Before moving into an assisted living facility, make sure your pets are healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations. Some facilities may require additional screening, such as a behavioral evaluation, to ensure pets are well-suited for community living. Try and introduce your pet to their new surroundings gradually. Visit the facility with your pet several times before the move.

Living with your Pet in Assisted Living

Once you’ve moved into an assisted living facility with your pet, you can enjoy the benefits of having a constant companion with you! However, it’s important to be mindful of other residents’ and staff members’ needs when living with your pet. Some facilities may require that pets be kept on a leash or in a crate when not in your private living area. Others may authorize free-roaming within the building’s designated areas.


Benefits of Pet Ownership

Did you know that pet ownership actually has a number of health benefits for seniors? Some of those benefits include:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced feelings of loneliness
  • Social support
  • Lower heart rate

Having a pet can also provide a sense of companionship, which is especially important to seniors. With the ability to bring their pets to assisted living, seniors can enjoy the benefits of pet ownership while also receiving the care they need.

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Originally published August 28, 2023

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