5 Benefits to Having Your Pet in Assisted Living

Senior woman hold therapy dog at home

When you think about life in an assisted living community, do you happen to think about pets? Many modern senior communities are embracing the presence of their furry friends. Perhaps you’re considering moving your senior loved one into an assisted living community, but they’re worried about what will happen to their beloved cat or dog. The good news is they don’t have to say goodbye when they make the transition. Here are a few benefits of having pets in assisted living:

  • Pets help ease the anxiety involved with transitioning into an assisted living community. If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with your older loved one about moving into a senior community, you’ve probably been met with arguments and protests. Many seniors think they’ll lose their independence and sense of identity, and they’re anxious about moving into a new environment after they’ve been comfortable in their current environment for so long. Having a pet can help reduce that anxiety, and serve as a familiar constant when they’re in a state of change. 
  • Caring for a pet provides a sense of daily routine. We all have routines that keep us sane, and seniors are no different. While moving into an assisted living community can be a challenge, having a pet to take care of helps seniors establish more structure, and it gives every day a sense of purpose. None of us want to feel aimless, or like we have nothing to do but sit around all day. Caring for a pet is a great addition to a daily routine. 
  • Therapy dogs are used in memory care units. Many memory care units use therapy dogs to provide relief, enjoyment, and comfort to residents with dementia. Therapy dogs are known for their calm, sweet natures and they gently interact with residents, sometimes even going on walks together. They’re also trained to detect signs of distress, so they can alert someone if a resident needs help. 
  • Adopting a pet as a group helps residents bond with one another. While many residents bring a pet with them when they move into an assisted living community, some senior living communities decide to adopt a pet as a group. There are so many cats and dogs who need loving homes and having a community pet is a great way for people to come together and get to know each other better. 
  • Pets are a constant when nothing else is. As much as you might try to regularly visit or communicate with your senior loved one in an assisted living community, there will be times when you aren’t able to consistently visit or speak. Having a pet gives your loved one a solid constant in their life and it can greatly improve their quality of life. 

Pet-friendly senior living communities in NJ

The “no pets policy” in assisted living communities may soon be a thing of the past. Seniors across the country have discovered the many benefits of having a pet in assisted living, and not to mention, the associates on-site love them also! It’s a great comfort to know that moving into a senior living community doesn’t mean they need to give up their furry friend. 

If you think it’s time to consider an assisted living community for your senior loved one and their pet, please contact our team at UMC today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org

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