A Guide To Pet Ownership in Senior Living Communities

Pet Ownership in Senior Living Communities: A Comprehensive Guide

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Immense joy, healthy activity, fulfilling companionship — many are the rewards for having a pet. And with good planning, older adults in senior living communities can keep their pets and continue to enjoy those rewarding relationships. In this blog, we’ll dive into the positive effects of pets on seniors’ lives, and we’ll offer tips for how senior living community residents can best prepare for safe, happy lives together.

Pet Ownership in Senior Living Communities: A Comprehensive Guide

The Joys and Benefits of Pets for Older Adults

Pets offer companionship, unconditional love and a sense of purpose that can enrich a senior’s life. Owning a pet provides joy and brightens the day in every stage of life. With a tail wag or affectionate nose nudge, pets bring smiles to people’s faces.

In addition to the resulting happiness, keeping a pet is proven to offer physical and mental health benefits, too. Lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving cognitive function and creating purposefulness — a relationship with a beloved pet is good for mind, body and spirit.

Caring for a pet can help keep seniors physically and socially active, providing structured routines for their lives. Pets also offer a source of comfort, emotional support and sense of security that is difficult to find elsewhere.

How to Care for a Pet in a Senior Living Community

Successfully taking care of a pet in a senior living community begins with a good plan and thoughtful preparation.

To start, proof of the pet’s good health may be needed. Some communities set weight limits for animals they’ll accept; some require temperament testing.

If you’re looking for a dog as your senior living community companion, online resources can help you find a breed that fits your lifestyle. But whatever the pet, you’ll want to consider factors such as the size of your apartment, your daily routine, and how well you can meet your pet’s needs for exercise and interaction.

Give your pet the best care possible. Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Make an emergency plan. Familiarize yourself with the closest veterinary clinics and animal hospitals. By keeping this information on hand, you’ll ensure that your pet receives prompt care if an unexpected situation arises.
  2. Shop online. To avoid running out of your pet’s essentials and to minimize trips to the local pet food store, order your supplies from a reliable website for delivery to your door.
  3. Buy insurance. Consider a pet insurance policy that helps cover unexpected veterinary costs. This is especially important as pets age and require more frequent medical care.
  4. Socialize and train. Your pet may need a little help to feel comfortable in a community setting. Early training can avert behavior problems later, and socialization to new people and surroundings can teach your pet how to adapt to their new environment.
  5. Rely on the community. Pet-friendly communities provide amenities such as dog parks and grooming services. These conveniences are for you and your furry friends, so take advantage of them.

Make Ready for Stylish, Pet-Friendly Apartment Living

Creative thinking and smart design decisions can get you a chic and pet-friendly apartment that you and your pet will love.

Start with simple ideas for keeping your apartment organized and clutter-free:

  • Look for furniture pieces that double as storage. For example, ottomans or coffee tables with hidden compartments can store pet toys, food and other supplies out of sight but convenient.
  • Hooks and wall-mounted shelving will keep leashes, collars and other accessories where you can find them.

For upholstered furniture, look for durable, easy-to-clean fabrics like microfiber or leather. Avoid delicate or textured materials prone to damage and staining.

Rugs and carpets made from synthetic fibers can be easily cleaned and resist odors.

You can also keep your apartment tidy by investing in a high-end pet dining station that complements your décor and creates a special, designated dining area for your pet.

How Pets Can Help People Living with Dementia

Pets can be a lifeline for people who have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Fun and friendly companions, pets will engage people in ways that improve their quality of life. They can:

  • Provide emotional support with vital connections that reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Help keep seniors’ minds sharp and bodies active via mental and physical stimulation.
  • Help alleviate dementia’s challenging anxiety and agitation symptoms.

Plus, for people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia who struggle with routine, interacting with a pet often creates structure and purpose within daily life.

Why Denver is a Pet-Friendly Area

You might want to rest and sip rest after your “Downtown Denver’s Best Walking Tour,” where you and your four-legged friend can explore historical and cultural highlights of the city. Fortunately, many brewpubs around Denver welcome on-leash canines. Great Divide Brewing Company, Zuni Street Brewing Company and Call to Arms Brewing Company – all gladly accommodate dogs in their outdoor seating areas.

Or, for a different taste, try Attimo Wine or Stem Ciders – and bring your dog. 

Leashed dogs are also permitted on 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, on South Platte River Greenway Trail and on the eighteenth step of the Colorado State Capital, where you’ll be a selfie-ready one mile above sea level.

Dog-friendly parks are everywhere, too. Try Cheesman Park, Fuller Dog Park, Lincoln Park, Railyard Dog Park and Green Valley Ranch East Dog Park.

To feed your soul with garden center bliss, you can bring your canine along when you visit City Floral Garden Center. You’re both welcome to browse and satisfy your gardening cravings. 

Among the Denver area’s pet-friendly, senior living options, you’ll find The Ridge Pinehurst extends a welcome to residents and their pets in their independent living, assisted living and memory care residences.

Why Salt Lake City is also a Pet-Friendly Area

Salt Lake City and Holladay, Utah are especially ideal for dog-lovers who quickly discover their furry friends are welcome just about everywhere!

In fact, BringFido.com lists a whopping 80 restaurants in Salt Lake City that feature outdoor dining patios where you can enjoy a meal with your pet, such as Blue Plate Diner, Coffee Garden and Hires Big H.

Holladay offers six additional dog-friendly dining options, including Spitz, Nielsen’s Frozen Custard and 3 Cups.  

For outdoor adventures, you’ll find beautiful parks, off-leash dog parks, and even tourist destinations that allow dogs on leashes. Try the trails around Salt Lake’s Capitol Building, for example, like Tanner Park, Cottonwood Park and Parley’s Historic Nature Park.

And when you’re exploring your Salt Lake City-area, pet-friendly, senior living options, communities like The Ridge welcome residents and their pets in their independent living and assisted living residences.

At The Ridge, your beloved companion will remain a treasured partner in your daily life.

Pick a Pet-Friendly Senior Living Community

Searching for pet-friendly senior living options? Here’s a checklist that might help.

  1. Confirm that the community allows pets and has clear policies regarding pet ownership.
  2. Ask about size or breed restrictions — and any additional fees or deposits for pet owners.
  3. Find out about on-site services, such as grooming or dog-walking.
  4. Look for a campus with ample outdoor space and/or walking paths for you and your pet, and make sure there are designated, easily accessible pet relief areas.
  5. Check the neighborhood to pinpoint the local veterinarians and pet supply stores.

Get to Know Pet-Friendly Senior Living at The Ridge

For yourself or a loved one, having a pet in your life when you’re a senior living community resident is sure to enhance and enrich daily living. 

At The Ridge, we encourage residents to bring their pets. We know how animal pals make bad days bearable, good days better and life more fulfilling — giving us laughter, comfort and unconditional love.

To find out more about our pet-friendly communities, get in touch.