A Guide to Assisted Living for Seniors with Pets

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Resources

If you’re a pet owner, you may run into some unique challenges when searching for an assisted living community. Facilities may have restrictive pet policies or lack the space and amenities you need to care for your pet comfortably. Some facilities ban pets altogether! Finding the perfect place to live with your furry friend will take some work, but it’s far from impossible. Check out the following tips to find pet-friendly facilities and get settled in with your lovable companion.

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Invest in Helpful Pet Supplies

Caring for your pet may get a little more challenging as you navigate the aging process. Consider purchasing some special pet supplies to simplify your pet care routine and save your back from frequent bending. If you have a cat, pick up a self-cleaning litter box, an automatic feeder, and a water fountain. Besides making your life easier, a cat water fountain will also encourage your cat to drink more frequently and avoid dehydration, which is a common problem for our feline friends.

If you have a dog, get a long pooper scooper so you can pick up waste without risking a fall outdoors. Search for a two-handed model if arthritis is an issue. Portable pet stairs may also be beneficial if picking up your animal has become a challenge.

Ask the Right Questions

One of the first things you’ll need to do is gauge a facility’s affordability and figure out how you’ll pay for assisted living. If you’re covered by a long-term care insurance policy or have substantial savings, you may already have enough money set aside. If not, you may need to find alternative ways to fund your stay in assisted living, such as selling your home.

As you search for a new place to call home, know what questions to ask assisted living communities before moving in. You’ll need to find out the particular pet policy of the facility you are interested in. Many assisted living communities are very welcoming to resident guests, and some even have communal pets available for social interaction with residents. Most assisted living communities that accept pets will restrict the size of pets, and some may only allow pets on certain floors of the building. The facility may also require that your pet is house-trained and well-behaved.

Even if a place accepts pets, the facility may not be built to handle the particular needs of pet owners. Be sure to ask questions about the size of the accommodations and ease of access to outdoor areas. According to Senior Cat Wellness, cats only need about 18 square feet of living space to be comfortable, as long as you provide sufficient opportunities for climbing and hiding. Dogs, on the other hand, will require much more room. It’s also important to find out whether the assisted living facility offers any kind of pet care services or if you will need to track down your own veterinary assistance and dog-walking services.

Scout Out the Neighborhood

If you’re a dog owner, take some time to assess the neighborhood surrounding the assisted living community. Make sure there are safe places to walk your pet away from dangerous, fast-moving traffic. A nearby dog park is a huge bonus! As you evaluate the area, pay attention to the quality of the sidewalks to ensure they are well-maintained and free from bumps or cracks that may present a fall hazard. You may even want to check out the area at night to ensure the premises are well-lit. You never know when you’ll need to make a doggy bathroom trip in the dark! To stay safe out there at night, iHeartDogs recommends wearing reflective clothing and getting your dog an LED collar or leash.

As a senior, there are many ways you can benefit from the company of a dog or cat after moving into assisted living. Pets provide their owners with endless love, friendship, mental stimulation, stress relief, and exercise opportunities. Take the time to find an assisted living community that will accommodate your pet and ensure both you and your furry friend thrive in your new home!

Article submitted by James Hall, Senior Care Fitness, jameshall@seniorcarefitness.com, www.seniorcarefitness.com

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