Seniors moving into assisted living facilities often face a difficult choice if they are also pet owners – what to do with their pet. The decision is never easy as most assisted living facilities do not allow pets. Some however, do.
Pet ownership for seniors as they move into an assisted living facility has apparent benefits and risks. Depending on the case and situation, as well as the existing conditions, the pros and cons may vary. But, it is worth noting first that there are facilities that allow pets upon moving in. In the same sense, some institutions do not allow the bringing of pets.
If you and your loved one must consider pet ownership with moving into a facility, this quick guide may help with the decision making process.
Pet Owners and Senior Living Facilities
Growing old can be very lonely. This is a point of fact that many people know and yet fail to admit. Even so, there are great sources that every elderly may resort to in order to counter this kind of negative position. And among all these sources, pet ownership is on top of the list.
Taking care of pets, whether dogs or cats, offers a lot of benefits, especially to older adults. For many decades, the advantages and impact of pet ownership among seniors have been largely tackled and studied upon by experts. And based on conclusions, pets can, indeed, help their owners in several ways.
Whether it may physical or mental, studies show that pets can positively impact these aspects and areas. This is why several facilities and institutions not only allow pets but, also encourage pet ownership in their vicinities.
Why Some Senior Communities Do Not Allow Pets
Despite the apparent benefits of pet ownership among seniors and elderly individuals, it is essential to note that pet ownership also entails challenges and risks. And these risks and challenges are mainly the reasons why some facilities and communities do not encourage the bringing of pets. This is why it is also a very important matter to consider before moving in.
Risks and Challenges of Long-term Care and Personal Pets
Cost. One of the most important things to regard is the cost of pet ownership. Aside from the costs that must be taken care of when inside an assisted living facility, pet care also entails cost. And as many would agree, taking care of pets is not always cheap.
Liability. Seniors arriving at an assisted living facility with pets may face the risk of liability, especially if their pets will react poorly. This may include damages on properties inside the institution, or the property of other persons living inside the institution. This may not happen all the time, but it remains a factor to be considered.
Inability to Provide Care. Another important factor that facilities and seniors must account for is the fact that seniors may not be able to provide adequate care for their pets inside an assisted living facility. Clearly, seniors who normally come into facilities need special care and attention. Accordingly, taking care of pets as they age further may become more of a challenge than a reward for them.
Possible Conflict. Conflicts among seniors and other residents in the facility are another concern. Keep in mind that not all individuals are pet lovers. Not all people will appreciate having pets around, especially if they bark, get into personal belongings, take favorite chairs, etc. So, this may result in conflicts and tensions inside the center.
Facilities that Allow Pets
There are numerous assisted living facilities that allow pets and pet ownership. You can try faith-based assisted living facilities and institutions that allow it, but it is essential that families to their research first. You can also try looking at assisted living centers that allow pets to check your area.
Also, while these institutions may allow pet ownership, there are still some restrictions and guidelines that they usually provide when it comes to senior pet ownership.
What if Your Pet is Not Allowed?
If pet ownership is not an option in your long-term care facility of choice, there are only two things that families can do. The first is to look for other institutions and facilities around the community that allow pets. As mentioned, there are some retirement and nursing homes that allow and encourage pets for owners.
The second option is to inquire whether pet visitation is allowed. In most cases, this is a very workable condition. But, whatever the case, it is important for families to talk and consult first with the assisted living homes and facilities. It is best if the information is gathered personally and directly from the management of the chosen institution.
Additional Tips for Moving Into Assisted Living Facilities
Moving seniors, especially loved ones, into an assisted living can be quite tough and challenging – pets aside. This is why preparations are needed prior to the move. Remember, it is a huge change for everyone; not only for caregivers, but especially for the seniors who will move into a different home setting.
Following are some helpful tips that you may want to apply on your end if you are facing the same kind of situation.
Talk Things Out. Communication is one of the primary things that you must do when moving a loved one to an assisted living. As mentioned, this is going to be a huge challenge for everybody involved. Once you’ve talked it all out, make sure to give the seniors space and time to “grieve” as this is a difficult moment for them. But, of course, make sure to let them know and understand the whole situation why a move to a care facility is a must.
Plan Effectively. Planning things out is part of the preparations that you must do before moving seniors to an assisted living facility. At this stage, you must think through everything including the situation, financial and emotional aspects, as well as the effects and impacts of the decision in the long run.
This will also include the choice of the right facilities and locations. Also, this will involve the specific type of care the senior needs, as well as the features of their programs and activities.
Focus on the Positives. While it may be daunting and difficult to move your loved one to a long-term care institution, you must stress the positive impacts of the decision. The reason why you are doing in the first place will become a recurring concern. So, be prepared to look on the bright side.
Make Sure You Pick a Good Fit. You must ensure you are picking a good facility or institution, which may not be the first one with an open bed or the closest one to you. You can check with your state agency that licenses and inspects long-term care facilities for quality reports.
There are books you can read if you’re having trouble figuring out if you are making the right choice. Here are a few:
- Assisted Living: An Insider’s View
- How to Choose Assisted Living Like a Pro: Tips from an Industry Insider
- Choose the Right Long-Term Care: Home Care, Assisted Living & Nursing Homes
Pack with Confidence. When packing for your loved one’s things, start by downsizing. Be sure to pack everything while remaining sensitive to your loved one’s emotions and feelings about the move. Make sure to get information from the facility on which items they recommend. Some facilities have helpful lists and points on which items should and should not be packed when moving into the center.
Encourage them to Develop a Community & Life. While institutions and facilities provide programs and activities that will help every senior develop their social and physical skills, you must encourage them to participate in these programs. Urge them to get involved not only with the activities but also with their new neighbors. You may start by talking to the neighbors first and make introductions. Make friends with them, as well as with the staff.