Does your elderly mom or dad have a pet? While there are numerous benefits of being a pet owner, taking care of a dog or a cat can become difficult as your loved one ages. And when it’s time to move to senior living, the question of what to do with the pet arises. Luckily, there are plenty of assisted living communities that allow pets across the US to choose from. Let’s have a look at things to keep in mind when contacting and touring a pet-friendly assisted living community.
Things to Consider Before Moving to Pet-Friendly Assisted Living
Before you begin your search for an assisted living community that allows pets, you should carefully consider several things. While it can be heartbreaking for the senior to part with a loved cat or dog, the pet’s habits and wellbeing should be taken into account. In some cases, it may turn out that finding a new home for the pet would be a better option in the long run.
Before you decide to bring the pet to an assisted living facility, ask yourself the following questions:
- How difficult will it be to find a community that allows pets and your type of pet in particular? Depending on the area, it may not be easy to find a pet-friendly assisted living facility that meets both your and your pet’s needs. And if the pet is a large dog, finding a community that accepts large breeds can be a real challenge.
- Would your older loved one be able to keep taking care of the pet? Most of the time, seniors move to assisted living because it becomes difficult for them to do daily tasks and take care of themselves. If your loved one needs a lot of help with daily activities and has mobility problems, then it might be best to find a new home for the pet because taking care of it may become too hard in the near future.
- Can the pet get used to a mostly indoor life? If you have a dog that’s used to a large yard, it simply isn’t fair to make it live in a small apartment. Not only will the dog be unhappy – it will make a lot of noise and constantly look for ways of getting out. The same applies to cats that are accustomed to coming and going whenever they please.
- Will your loved one be able to afford the pet? Assisted living isn’t cheap and taking care of pets can be expensive too, especially as the pet ages and may need a vet a lot more frequently.
If your loved one still wants to bring the pet to an assisted living community and you’re sure that the benefits will outweigh any potential problems, it’s time to start your search. Explore and tour all the available options, see how things are working out for the community’s resident pet owners, and don’t forget to check all the pet-related rules and policies in advance.
Policies and Restrictions to Pay Attention to
When you’re looking for an assisted living facility that allows pets, don’t leave any questions until the move-in date. Each community has different policies and restrictions and it’s good to find out about them in advance. Ultimately, these restrictions may affect your choice.
Let’s have a look at some common requirements and rules assisted living communities have about bringing pets:
- Breed, size and temperament restrictions: a lot of communities are happy to let you keep your small dog or a cat but they won’t allow larger dogs or certain breeds. For example, many communities will not allow attack-type dog breeds such as pit bulls. The community may also ask to assess the pet’s temper to prevent any problems that may arise from allowing you to bring an aggressive animal.
- Vaccinations: almost all pet-friendly senior living facilities will ask you to provide proof of vaccinations. Make sure you have it handy in advance.
- Noise and behavior rules: a lot of communities have rules and policies against noise and pet-related complaints from other residents. Most of the time, this means that if there’s a certain number of complaints about the pet’s behavior or noise, the pet will have to leave.
- Age and training: some assisted living communities have pet age and training requirements. Most of the time this means that the pet has to be at least one year old and be housebroken.
- Extra deposit: at some facilities, seniors who want to bring their pets may have to pay an additional refundable deposit.
- Limited number of pets: usually, the senior is allowed to bring a maximum of two pets.
- Pet caretaker: some communities may require you to designate a pet caretaker. This is done to make sure that someone from the neighborhood will take care of the pet if the resident is unable to do it due to health issues or any other problems.
While finding a pet-friendly community is usually the top priority for the senior, there are numerous other factors to consider. Fortunately, Premier Senior Living communities understand the benefits and value of accommodating pets and work hard to coordinate a care plan for your loved one that includes their beloved animal by their side.