Most people would never consider moving without their beloved pet. This is just as true for those considering a move to assisted living. Luckily enough many assisted living communities welcome your furry friends. Pet policies differ slightly from community to community but here are a few things they will be looking at.
Health and wellness of your pet
It is no surprise that an assisted living community will take health into consideration. You will likely need to present your pet's 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 of your pet
Many communities will have a weight limit on the size of pets they will allow into the community. 35 pounds seems to be a common cutoff point, but this is not a hard and fast rule in all assisted living communities.
Demeanor of your pet
Your 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.
Before you move a pet into assisted living there are several other factors to consider:
1. Is there an additional pet deposit? If so, is it refundable?
2. Is there an additional monthly fee?
3. Who will care for the pet if your health declines or you are away from the community for an extended period of time?
4. 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?
5. 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!
Ty Strahl is the areas leading senior adviser. Her job is to help you navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.