For many people considering assisted living the concern over what to do with a beloved pet may weigh heavily on the decision-making process. Luckily enough many assisted living communities welcome your furry friends. Pet policies will vary slightly from community to community but here are a few things they will be looking at.
Health and wellness: It is no surprise that an assisted living community will take health into consideration. You will likely need to present examination and immunization records from a licensed veterinarian. The vet will need to verify that your pet is free of any diseases that could be transmissible to humans or other animals in the community.
Size: Many communities will limit the size of dogs they will allow. 35 pounds seems to be a common cutoff point, but this is not a hard and fast rule in all assisted living communities.
Demeanor: You pet will likely need an assessment from a staff member to consider your pets overall behavior. Aggressive tendencies such as growling or nipping at a person could be a deal breaker. Also excessive noise such as barking, howling or in the case of a bird, squawking could disturb other residents and might result in an eviction notice for your pet.
Age and training: Most communities require that dogs and cats be at least one year old and be house broken or litter trained.
As is the case for pet owners anywhere there are a number of other questions and responsibilities to consider:
Is there an additional pet deposit? If so, is it refundable?
Is there an additional monthly fee?
Who will care for the pet if your health declines or you are away from the community for an extended period of time such as a vacation or hospital stay?
Has your pet become accustomed to coming and going through a pet door? If so will your pet be able to adjust to going outside with you while on a leash?
Can you still adequately care for the pet? Some communities are able to assist with pet care in a limited capacity. Ask what they will be able to assist with and if that will suite the needs of you and your pet.
There are numerous benefits of pet ownership, especially for seniors. Those who miss a spouse or friends who have passed or who are generally depressed or lonely can find joy in the companionship and love of a pet. Pets require exercise and can encourage seniors to be more active which can keep their muscles, bones, joints, and minds healthy. They can also reduce boredom and keep residents engaged. The companionship can contribute a lot to happiness which can easily contribute to overall health and wellness. So if you are considering assisted living consider bringing a furry friend!