The number of pet owners in the United States has tripled since the 1970s, and today, about 62% of all households include a pet (source). Considering these statistics, I think it’s safe to assume that most people reading this blog know what it’s like to love a dog or cat. Pets can be loyal, funny, playful, smart, stubborn, wild, lazy, loving, and so much more. When we invite them into our families, they enrich our lives just as much as we enrich theirs. If you’re a senior and a pet owner, it is important that you research pet friendly assisted living facilities so that your pet can stay by your side. Today, we’re discussing why pets are so beneficial to seniors, how to transition your pet to a retirement community, and things to keep in mind as you search for pet friendly assisted living facilities.
Pet Friendly Assisted Living Facilities
The Benefits of Pets for Seniors
If you are moving into a retirement community but you own, love, and can still properly care for a pet, you need to search for pet friendly assisted living facilities. Pets help seniors stay healthy and happy with their energy, compassion, and loyalty. Don’t believe me? Check out these facts:
- Pets lower seniors’ blood pressure and pulse rate (source).
- Pet owners have lower levels of cholesterol (source).
- Pets help seniors get more exercise and avoid social withdrawal (source).
- After an illness, seniors recover more quickly if they have an animal companion (source).
Transitioning Your Pet to an Assisted Living Facility
If you want to move your pet into your future retirement community, the first thing you need to do is meet with the community director of your preferred facility. Finding pet friendly assisted living facilities is key, but after that, you need to discuss your situation with the staff members. Although many facilities allow pets, these facilities often have strict rules that regulate pet ownership. Some will only allow certain kinds of pets. Others will require you to have your pet approved beforehand. Whatever the case may be, ensure that your pet will be welcome before you commit to the facility.
Once you and your pet have moved into your new home, you will need to help your pet transition to this new lifestyle. Slowly introduce your pet to the staff and residents, but remember to ask people beforehand if they are comfortable with animals. If someone is allergic to cats or scared of dogs, for example, you’ll need to accommodate their requests. To keep your pet in good spirits, try to stick to the same schedule you had at home. Wake and go to bed at similar times, stick to the same dog or cat food, bring along your pet’s bed and toys, and remember to give your pet daily exercise. As you introduce your pet to new friends and take him or her on walks, you might find yourself becoming more active and social as well.
Things to Keep in Mind
- If you don’t currently have a pet, it is not recommended that you adopt one before moving into an assisted living facility. Most pet friendly assisted living facilities will be weary of a new animal, especially if it is young and/or untrained.
- Although owning a pet has been shown to have numerous health benefits, these statistics don’t hold true for everyone. For many elderly people, owning a pet can be stressful, heartbreaking, and even dangerous. Be careful and if you want a pet, choose it wisely.
- If you are a senior who won’t be moving into an assisted living facility for several years and you would like to adopt a dog or cat, it is recommended that seniors choose older, quieter, lazier animals. Be sure that you have the motivation, energy, and money to give the pet a healthy and happy life before you commit to the adoption.
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If you’re searching for pet friendly assisted living facilities in the Midwest, be sure to check out Hearthside Senior Living Place. We welcome pets that fit with in our pet policy plan at all of our eight locations (which are located in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee). If you schedule a tour, our community directors can assist you with understanding our pet requirements. You can also learn more about our pet policy by reading our FAQ page (scroll down to the “Pets” section).