Moving into senior housing from your longtime family home can be overwhelming. However, finding out that you can’t bring along your favorite pet can be downright devastating, especially if you are moving after the death of a spouse or partner. During this time, your pet brings not only comfort, but also companionship.
With a little research, you will find that various types of senior housing allow you to bring a pet with you. Even in pet-friendly senior housing, restrictions may limit the number, kind, and size of animals allowed. But at least you will be able to have your pet with you.
If you have to give up your pet because you are moving into a senior living facility, you may become very distressed and depressed. You may not thrive as well in your new home. Unfortunately, many animals that do not move along with their owners wind up in shelters, where they may or may not be adopted.
Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors
Seniors who own a cat or dog are healthier, happier, and live longer. Studies have shown that pets are good for your physical and emotional well-being. A pet provides an opportunity to socialize with others, gives you a sense of purpose, and helps you remain active. Having a pet can help you focus on something other than your own health or physical problems.
Other benefits of pet ownership include:
-Lower blood pressure
-Higher survival rate after a heart attack
-Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
-Higher spirits for those with a memory impairment
Finding Pet-Friendly Senior Housing
More senior living communities are recognizing that residents who own pets feel more comfortable and safe when their furry companions are with them. That’s why more communities are allowing and encouraging pet ownership. You may even find a community that offers pet care and grooming among its extra services.
Pet-friendly senior housing units usually allow cats, small- to medium-sized dogs, and other small animals such as birds and fish. Some senior communities have “community” dogs and cats that live on site. A few nursing homes and assisted living facilities even have pet chickens.
However, even pet-friendly senior housing communities might set weight limits, cap the number of pets you are allowed, or require a deposit or fee.
When you find a cat- or dog-friendly senior housing community, you want to make sure it is designed to handle pets well. Questions to ask a community include:
-What are the building’s rules regarding pets?
-Are the rooms in your unit large enough for a pet?
-How much of a deposit or fee is required upon move-in?
-Is there a safe place to take your dog or cat for a walk?
-Is the pet area well-lit at night?
-Is there a place for your pet to do its business?
Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
Unfortunately, you may not be compatible with every type of dog, cat, or other animal. You will need a pet that has a great temperament, is well-trained, and is good around older adults.
In this situation, older pets are better than puppies for retired persons. They typically are better trained, are housebroken, obey commands, and can walk well on a leash. The best size and breed of a dog depends on your ability to care for the pet.
If you find pet-friendly senior housing, but your community has a weight limit on dogs, you’ll want to consider smaller breeds. Suggested small dog breeds for seniors include:
-Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Your turn: What has been your experience with pet-friendly senior housing? Would you recommend other dog breeds for seniors, or suggest a cat instead? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
What Are Your Senior Housing Questions?
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