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Senior Living and Pets - Plan Ahead!
By Paula Sotir
As you prepare for a transition to senior living, there are many considerations to be made. Families often overlook the need to have a conversation about their pets. Studies today have shown that pets are good for the overall health of seniors. Owning a pet encourages a senior to focus on something other than their health and forces them to remain active and social.
Many senior living communities are now allowing pets. However, there are many restrictions and additional costs associated with bringing one’s pet to a senior facility. Pets will be evaluated and are limited to cats and smaller sized dogs - all are limited to one pet per resident. Skilled nursing facilities do not permit pets.
As you tour various senior communities, bring a list of your “pet questions and concerns” and ask at each location. Also, many assisted living communities today are investing in “community pets” that live on site and can be shared among the residents.
While pet-friendly senior living may be the answer for some, it doesn’t work for all. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to do with your pet. Encourage your senior to be a part of the decision and maybe even help find a new loving home for their pet with a neighbor or friend.
So, as you prepare for a transition to a senior living community, make sure to include plans for pets. If this happens at the last minute it could add undue stress to your senior’s comfort level in their new home.