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The Importance of Pets in an Assisted Living Community

by Amanda Cupp on September 9th, 2015

Moving to an assisted living community can mean giving up some of the comforts of home. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to mean giving up your pet. Pets can provide seniors with a reason to get out of bed, knowing that a living creature is depending on them. The interaction people have with their pets can also lower their blood pressure, reduce their anxiety, and bring them a lot of joy. While not every senior wants a pet, it’s important that assisted living communities recognize the value of allowing their residents to have pets.

Having pets in an assisted living facility requires a plan, rules, and accommodations, but there are plenty of great ways to make it a good experience for everyone. The facility can have designated apartments or even an entire wing or floor that allows pets, ensuring that people who don’t want pets or who are allergic won’t be right next door. When a facility accommodates both pet lovers and those who prefer not to share their space with anything four-legged and furry, all residents can be happier. It’s not just about the actual apartments, though. There are common areas to consider.

Cat and dog hair can be a real problem for people who are allergic, and even those without allergies may not want the hair on their clothing. Having common areas where people can bring their well-behaved pets, along with areas that are pet-free, can be a great way to handle the issue if the facility is large enough to allow for that. Additionally, there needs to be outdoor areas for people to walk their dogs. A park-like area with grass and trails can be a perfect setting, and can also be a way to allow residents who don’t have pets but who do like pets to interact with others and make a furry friend.

Respect for everyone living there – and for the pets on the premises – is the name of the game for any assisted living facility. Seniors who live there want to feel at home and be comfortable. For many people, that means a four-legged companion, but for others it may mean something completely different. A facility that doesn’t allow pets at all will keep some people away. Of course, there are also people who will avoid a facility that allows pets everywhere, whether due to allergies or simply a dislike for cat hair, barking dogs, or other concerns.

By giving seniors options, they can choose the place that works for them and keep what is important close by. Since pets are so valuable to many seniors, it makes sense to have assisted living facilities where pets can be a part of life. Catering to both pet lovers and those who would rather not have pets around them can take some work, but can be done and is certainly worth the effort to provide a better, happier life for a larger number of residents.

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