Many senior living communities welcome and encourage pets. Pet ownership leads to a longer, healthier, and happier life.
An assisted living and memory care community that allows residents to keep their pets, can make for a smoother transition for your loved one. Different communities may have different rules and guidelines.
Reaching out to a senior living community will help you and your loved one choose the right home. You may need to ask questions, such as, which pet breeds are allowed? Will someone help me care for my pet?
A loving and loyal companion can help seniors stay active and feel less alone. While it may take more work, finding a compassionate senior living community that accepts pets is worth it.
Why are pet-friendly assisted living communities important?
More than 60% of seniors are pet owners, meaning that if an assisted living community doesn’t allow pets, a senior will need to leave their pet behind. Leaving a pet behind can cause anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear.
There are endless benefits to owning a pet.
Seniors are often in better health, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Caring for a pet can give seniors a reason to get outside, stay active, groom, feed, and care for another living thing. This provides them with a sense of purpose.
As seniors age, pets can help improve their quality of life.
Pictured in one of our recent Instagram posts, residents Evelyn, Elizabeth, and Lenny snuggle some VIPs: Very Important Pups!
All of our Kensington communities are pet-friendly because love is a four-legged word! We believe strongly in the numerous benefits a loving animal can provide to our residents:
- Reduced stress and renewed purpose
- Improved heart health
- Greater self-esteem and self-confidence
The most recognized benefits for seniors include:
- Reduced stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower heart rate
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduced depression and anxiety
- Increased social interaction
- Increased physical activity
- Less loneliness
- Increased learning
- Mental stimulation
- Improved self-esteem
- A sense of purpose
What to consider before bringing a pet to senior living?
Before assuming your loved one’s pet is welcome, be sure to ask the right questions.
You’ll want to understand a community’s pet policy before choosing it as a new home. Consider the pet’s behavior and history, and if it would be a good fit for everyone involved.
Your loved one’s pet may be excellent with them and familiar people, but doesn’t mean they will fare well around strangers. They may be protective over their owner. If they have a history of biting or being aggressive, it would be best if another family member or friend kept the pet.
Some communities that don’t allow pets or certain breeds will still allow visitations.
If your senior loved one has a smaller breed dog or a cat, it shouldn’t be challenging to find a community to accept them and their pet. Pets that are excluded from senior living communities generally include large breeds or breeds that are thought to be aggressive.
Most enclosed pets will be allowed in senior assisted living communities, aside from snakes, and pets that can be dangerous or poisonous.
Since some communities have stricter rules than others, the only way to determine which community will accept a specific pet is to reach out to the community itself.
Best companions for seniors
If your senior loved one doesn’t already have a pet but feels lonely and isolated, a pet could be just what they need to cheer them up.
When it comes to choosing a pet, there is no wrong choice; it solely depends on your senior’s preference and health. Some seniors may love the idea of adopting an older dog or cat. Older pets are usually potty-trained and well-behaved, making them a better option than puppies and kittens.
Furry friends can give seniors a sense of purpose and joy, as they will need to be walked, groomed, loved, and cared for. Walking a dog is a great way to get seniors outdoors and active. A cat could be the best choice for those who want to enjoy the companionship and comfort of a pet but cannot keep up with the walks and potty breaks.
In the case that your loved one has allergies, they could choose an enclosed pet such as a guinea pig, hamster, bunny, lizard, insect, or fish.
Enclosed pets can provide seniors with the same health benefits as dogs and cats but with less maintenance. They can still keep seniors on a routine, which is excellent for memory care seniors. Watching enclosed pets is great for both entertainment and learning.
The Kensington Reston welcomes seniors and their pets
At The Kensington Reston, pets are always welcome!
We recognize how essential pets and pet therapy can be to our senior resident’s health and overall well-being. Our assisted living and memory care communities are accustomed to making furry friends, and their owners, a part of our family.
Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own, pets included. We want our residents to feel safe, loved, entertained, and comfortable.
While pets are accepted and improve our resident’s mental, emotional, and physical health, we also offer amenities to help them live fulfilled lives. We provide rehabilitation therapy, life-enrichment activities, exquisite dining, medication administration, insulin injections, and high acuity care.
Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about your senior loved one’s needs. We are here to support you, educate you, and guide you in making the best choice for your loved one.