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Can You Have Pets in an Assisted Living Community?

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Assisted living communities can help you or your loved one flourish in a safe and supportive environment. They may have exciting event calendars, exceptional dining, and dedicated and qualified staff who can assist with daily activities. Your loved one can maintain their independence. But what’s independence without your best furry friend?

Every assisted living community has its own rules for having pets. So, while Village at Bellevue allows our residents to bring their pets to live with them, the best thing you can do is ask the staff for their restrictions.

Assisted Living Community Pet Policies

Assisted living communities offer varying levels of care based on residents’ needs, which differentiates them from independent living communities. They can adapt their offerings for those moving in, so they’ll typically have unique policies. For pets, they’ll generally want to know a few things:

  • The pet won’t harm other residents
  • The pet won’t unintentionally put its owner or other residents in danger
  • The owner can take care of the pet

Some communities might have policies on what kinds of pets are allowed or how many a single resident can have. Some rules you may run into while looking for a pet-friendly living community are:

  • Up-to-date vaccinations
  • Breed/weight restrictions
  • Age/training restrictions
  • Fees for pets, either recurring or one-time
  • The resident is solely responsible for their care
  • A pet limit based on individual or community
  • A plan for the future if the owner can no longer care for the pet
  • No exotic animals (sorry, snakes!)

Reviewing specific pet-related policies and restrictions is crucial when considering a pet-friendly community.

The Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Pets can bring immense joy and companionship to people of all ages, but they often hold a special place in the hearts of seniors. The benefits of having a pet are abundant and extend beyond companionship.

A 2017 study shows that people who own dogs walk an average of 22 minutes more daily. And that movement adds up. In fact, regular moderate-intensity walking could be just as effective as going for a run to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Pets can also offer a sense of purpose for your loved one. Even if they’re not going for a walk with a dog, getting up every morning and knowing their pet depends on them can do wonders for their mental health.

Pets can even be beneficial emotionally. Having a pet provides constant companionship, which could help your loved one stay engaged and confident. In addition, simply petting a dog or cat could bring a sense of calm and de-stress during tense moments.

With these remarkable advantages, it’s no wonder pets are cherished by seniors seeking a fulfilling and happy life.

An assisted living resident sitting in a chair and petting a dog that is sitting on his lap

The Concerns of Pets in Assisted Living Communities

Not every assisted living community allows pets, or at the very least, have restrictions on the kind of pets allowed. While this may seem unfair after discussing all the benefits, they may have good reasons for it.

Pets are expensive. And, as they get older, those expenses could grow higher and higher. Bringing a pet into an assisted living community runs the risk of your loved one having to decide between caring for the pet and caring for themselves. 

Along the same lines, the pet’s well-being should also be considered. If your loved one is moving into assisted living, it’s typically because of their declining health and mobility. They may not be able to care for themselves, and pets require care too, such as feeding, grooming, walking, and being cleaning up after.

Finally, there’s the concern that pets can be disruptive. An animal could damage someone else’s property or be a source of conflict between residents. Some people may be allergic to certain pets. Everyone in the community deserves to enjoy their time here, and something like a barking dog could stress out other residents, which should be considered.

Finding a Pet-Friendly Community

There are some considerations if your loved one is looking to bring their furry friend with them to a living community or they’re thinking about adopting one after they move in. You can ask any community you’re touring these questions:

  • Are there any fees to have a pet?
  • What are the restrictions on the type of pet?
  • Do you provide assistance with pet care?
  • Are there limits on the number of pets?
  • What other pets are already in the community?
  • Do you have outdoor green spaces?

Giving up a pet can be a heartbreaking experience, even if they’re going to someone you know or another loving family. But it’s important to be realistic. Sometimes the decision you make is what’s best for the pet. Ask yourself and your loved one these questions, and be honest about the answer:

  • Would the pet need a larger space than is available in the community?
  • Can you physically care for the pet?
  • Can you afford to ensure the pet gets the care it deserves?
  • How difficult will it be to find a community that allows the pet?

A Community for Furry Friends in Riverside

At The Village at Bellevue, we know your pets are family, and these golden years aren’t the same without someone by your side. That’s why we made our community pet-friendly! Find out if our vibrant community is right for your loved one (and their little buddy) by booking a tour today!

Written by Angela Clark

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