How Seniors and Their Pets Can Thrive Together in Assisted Living
If you’re a senior who is also a pet parent, you may worry that moving to assisted living with pets will be a serious problem. The good news is that many other seniors are in the same situation, which means that an increasing number of assisted living centers are actually pet-friendly. However, these centers aren’t all created equal, so you’ll want to be intentional about finding the right place for you and your pets to thrive.
Finding Your Fit
When you start looking for an assisted living center, be sure to include pet-friendly accommodations as part of the criteria you want. Once you’ve found some places that meet this need, be sure to ask plenty of questions to get more details.
These are a few of the top questions to consider:
- What are their pet policies? Even when a center allows pets, they may still have restrictions on the size, type, and number you can keep. You will also want to find out if pets are limited to certain buildings, or whether they’re allowed in the entire community.
- What are the costs? The costs of food, accessories, and vet care are all part of having pets, but you may also have to pay fees to keep pets in assisted living. Some will require a deposit and/or monthly fees, while others may not.
- What extra services do they provide? In addition to pet-friendly accommodations, some assisted living centers offer other pet services. Some have dog parks, staff to help with care, and even special events for pets and their parents. For example, Next Avenue highlights one community that has a “yappy hour” for pets and their owners to socialize.
Tips for Easy Pet Care
These services are ideal because they help ease your burden as a senior pet parent. If you don’t have access to this extra help, we have a few tips that make pet care easier at any age:
- Stock the right supplies. Meeting your pet’s care needs takes a certain amount of work no matter what, but having the right supplies can do wonders towards easing your effort. Cats are happiest when they have scratching posts, a clean litter box, and plenty of fresh water. Some cats run the risk of dehydration, but a simple solution is to get a cat water fountain. These products are inexpensive, and they keep fresh water at hand without you having to refill it as frequently as a water bowl. Another perfect solution is to invest in a self-cleaning litter box, which eliminates the back-breaking work of daily scooping.
If you’re a dog owner, the blog Good Gifts for Senior Citizens recommends using a short leash so it doesn’t get tangled and cause a trip hazard. They also suggest using a tall poop scooper that doesn’t require you to bend over to collect messes. Another one of our favorite tips for any type of pet is to use a grocery delivery service or order online to get your pet’s food and other necessities so you don’t make several trips to the store.
- Connect with your community. These care tips can help make everyday life easier, but many seniors still worry about getting sick or injured — and how that may affect their pets. The first thing to do is ask your senior living community if they provide care for pets when their owners are unable to. Then consider how you could lean on your larger community. Do you have a friend or family member who could help? Some senior living centers actually require you to designate an alternate plan for your pet’s care.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but the same can be said for pet ownership! We know that it can be a little more challenging to provide quality care for your pet later in life. Being a senior pet parent is far from impossible, though, when you’re willing to try new tricks and lean on your community for support.
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