Moving to an assisted living community or nursing home is a big change. Part of that change involves moving with your pet—who may or may not be welcome in many area senior communities. But the good news is that many senior living spots recognize the importance of your companion animal coming along for the move—and these places are becoming easier to find, too.
1. Find the Right Home for Your Needs
Before considering the needs of your pet, it’s crucial that you take into consideration your own needs and which type of facility will support you properly. If you’re still mobile and independent and just need some extra daily support (e.g., with meal preparation, cleaning, laundry), then assisted living should suffice. But if you have a medical condition that requires 24/7 monitoring and need assistance bathing and getting dressed, then a skilled nursing facility will be a better fit.
Once you’ve chosen the right type of facility, you can hone in on individual homes and their costs and reviews—and if they accept pets or not. For instance, if you’re searching for a quality nursing home in and around Atlanta, Senior Care offers reviews and price info on 19 facilities.
2. Know What You Need to Cover When Moving with Your Pet
Wherever you plan to move, there are a few critical pet-related items to tick off your list. For example, ensuring that your pet is healthy and ready for a move is vital.
Checking for fleas is one step that’s essential for avoiding an infestation in your new home. You may use a special flea medicine to protect your pup from fleas, as those itchy little insects pose health risks to both pets and humans. Research your pet’s products to ensure they’re safe before prepping for your move.
Keeping up on your pet’s health checkups is also a must. After all, even pet-friendly communities may require your pooch’s papers. For example, most states require dogs and cats to receive rabies vaccinations, says the American Veterinary Medical Association, and you may need proof to travel or move with your pup.
3. Understand Limitations and Laws in Your Area
Many apartment complexes and condominiums—whether senior living or otherwise—have stipulations on the number and size of pets you can have. If you have a larger-breed dog that is not a registered service animal, you may have difficulty finding a home where you can live together.
Further, some cities throughout the United States have breed-specific legislation that governs dog ownership. Essentially, some dog breeds are not allowed in certain cities, while others must be spayed or neutered to adhere to the law.
It can be an uphill battle fighting local laws, especially if your dog is a breed that many people consider to be dangerous. But knowing what your city and county mandate can help you prepare for your home search. Humane Society notes each rental property can have its own rules, too, including breed restrictions.
4. Look for Pet-Friendly Amenities
Some senior living communities may advertise that they allow pets, but there is a difference between a pet-friendly community and one with exclusive amenities for animals. For example, an assisted living or nursing home might allow pets in residents’ rooms, but there may not be a grassy area on-site for resident pets to exercise.
Many facilities will also charge a deposit or a monthly rental amount for pets. These costs can add up, especially if the pet rent is per animal and billed with your monthly fees.
5. Consider Petitioning for Changes
Whether you already have a community in mind or are coming up fruitless in your search for pet-friendly accommodations, consider petitioning for a change in rules. There are countless health benefits of pet ownership for seniors, explains Cedars Sinai. Not only do they promote companionship, they can reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Especially for veterans dealing with PTSD, for example, having a dog can provide both emotional and physical support. Fortunately, assisted living communities are beginning to recognize these facts.
However, it may take pressure from potential (or current) residents to make changes to outdated policies. In some cases, simply asking may get the answer you’re hoping for, even if moving in with a pet is an uncommon occurrence in the neighborhood.
6. Be Ready to Compromise
Unfortunately, depending on where you live, finding a pet-friendly senior community could present challenges. But if you’re willing to widen your geographical area—and perhaps ease up on your list of must-haves—you may find more options than you thought possible.
For example, a community that’s a bit farther from local resources like parks may have an on-site pet run for resident critters. Some senior homes even have live-in pets for everyone who lives there to enjoy.
Preparing to move to a senior housing complex with your pet shouldn’t be stressful. With these tips, you can feel confident in your home search and know what to look for. Ultimately, finding a place to enjoy your golden years alongside your pet may be easier than you think.
Need pet sitting or dog training services? The pet care team at 2 Paws Up has got you covered! (770) 695-3096