Pets are a great source of companionship for seniors. In fact, they’ve even been proven to improve senior health! Many seniors worry that moving to assisted living means giving up their beloved pet, but there are lots of pet-friendly senior housing options.
While it’s relatively simple to find pet-friendly apartments and retirement communities, finding pet-friendly assisted living in Pennsylvania is more challenging. That’s especially true for seniors with medium- and large-breed dogs, as many communities place restrictions on pet size and breed. Read on for tips from Glad Dogs Nation on finding the right community for you and your pet.
How to Find a Pet-Friendly Assisted Living Community
Assisted living facilities have historically been pet-free zones, citing concerns about fall hazards and residents’ ability to care for pets. However, an increasing number of communities are embracing pets as they recognize the benefits to seniors’ mental and emotional well-being.
Online search tools can help seniors filter for pet-friendly assisted living facilities. When searching, look for information such as:
- What types of pets are allowed? Cats, small dogs, and caged pets are the most common in assisted living.
- Is there a size restriction?
- How many pets can I have?
- Is there a pet fee or deposit?
- What veterinary care is required before a pet moves in?
What to Look for in Pet-Friendly Assisted Living
The best pet-friendly communities do more than allow pets; they cater to them. These are the types of amenities that make an assisted living community a great choice for pet owners.
- Garden apartments
- Well-lit outdoor pet areas
- Walking trails
- Assistance with pet care
Think About the Future
In addition to having the ideal amenities, remember to think long-term as you weigh a Pennsylvania community and what it has to offer. Look deeper into overall ratings, room counts, staff ratios and extra features like whether skilled care is offered. While you may not need nursing home care now, this could change in the future, and you don’t want to move twice.
Caring for your Pet in Assisted Living
Keeping up with a pet becomes more challenging as you age, but with the right accommodations, assisted living can be a great place to care for your pet. These are some ways that seniors can make pet care easier:
- Find a mobile vet. A trip to the vet is stressful for pets and inconvenient for owners, especially when you’re no longer able to drive. A mobile veterinarian, however, takes the hassle out of pet care by coming to you.
- Buy the right supplies. Elevated food and water bowls, a no-pull harness, automated feeders, and self-cleaning litter boxes are just a few of the helpful tools that make daily pet care much easier for seniors.
- Pay extra for pet care. Well-exercised pets are healthier, happier, and easier to care for. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your pet’s needs, enroll in your community’s pet care program or hire an outside dog walker.
What About Service Animals?
If you have a service animal to assist with a disability, your rights to have your service animal are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Even in communities with no-pet policies and size or breed restrictions, you may request a reasonable accommodation for your service animal. Unlike pets, assisted living communities can’t charge extra fees for service animals.
Finding a pet-friendly assisted living community is worth the effort for pet owners. However, seniors who don’t currently have pets should avoid getting one before moving to senior living. While you can still choose a pet-friendly community, your search will be simpler if you wait until you’re settled in before adding a pet to the family.
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To ensure your pet stays healthy and happy, turn to Glad Dogs Nation for gear, grooming supplies, toys, treats, and more.