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Pet ownership can benefit individuals of nearly every age, and there’s usually no need to leave a pet behind when you move — whether that's to a retirement home or assisted living community. If you are considering looking for a pet-friendly assisted living community, The Livingston County Consortium on Aging shares the following tips to find the right facility and learn how to best care for your animal companion in a new setting.
How to Find a Pet-Friendly Community
Not all assisted living communities are open to the idea of you sharing your quarters with your dog or cat, and they will almost certainly veto an exotic pet like a snake, wolf or pig. If you are moving to a community in which a high number of residents have severe health problems, they may not be as keen on you bringing an animal into the mix.
You may have to call around and research online for a pet-friendly community that is able to provide services for pets you may need. Also, look for features that make caring for a pet easier, such as a small yard area or paved dog walking areas.
How to Care for a Pet in Assisted Living
Small dogs and cats are happy to live in assisted living rooms or apartments, but large dogs may not be as thrilled if they are used to a large house with an expansive yard. Consider these factors when choosing whether to bring your pet with you. If you have a dog, for example, it will need to be taken outside multiple times a day for a walk. A cat, on the other hand, will need a litter box, which you may not want to contend with if you are moving into a smaller space.
When preparing to bring your pet, make sure you have all the necessary gear to properly take care of them on your own. This includes their bed, food and water dishes, leashes, crates and items to bring extra comfort depending on age or weather. For example, a heating pad may be ideal for an older dog during the winter, while a cooling pad is ideal for a fluffy pup in the heat of summer.
How to Prepare Financially for Moving to Assisted Living
Paying for an assisted living space while caring for a pet can be challenging. Before selling your home, you may have to spend money to make the house easier to sell. This can take a large chunk out of your finances, but you will likely see a higher return in the long run if these updates increase the home's value. This, in turn, can help you pay for assisted living.
Finally, you'll need to factor in other related costs like moving and pet day or overnight care. If you plan to hire movers, research local moving companies and ask around for quotes. Make sure you settle on a moving company that has a good reputation, so that you're spending your money wisely.
If you are attached to your small pet, as most animal lovers are, there is no need to consider rehoming your pet or asking a relative to care for it when you transition to assisted living. Because there are several emotional and physical health benefits to keeping your pet by your side, try to make every effort to do so unless you are unable to care for the animal.