How Pets Help Seniors in Assisted Living

February 15, 2023

Americans love their pets. About two-thirds of the households in the United States have a pet. Many assisted living facilities allow residents to bring their pets when moving in. Your furry friend could provide comfort and familiarity as you transition to a new phase in your life.

Health Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Physical benefits: You must stay active enough to give your pet attention. That could include walking your dog, brushing your cat or feeding your fish. Getting up to care for your pet can improve your cardiovascular health, flexibility and motor skills. Physical activity has been proven to reduce pain, improve healing and boost emotions.

Mental benefits: Animals have been known to ease mental agitation and stress if you have dementia, Alzheimer’s or Sundown Syndrome. Their companionship can calm you if you feel anxious in a new setting. A pet is also mentally stimulating and requires you to stay focused and organized.

Emotional benefits: Pets help lower stress levels because your body produces the mood-boosting hormone serotonin when interacting with animals. Research has shown that people tend to smile more around animals, inspiring positive emotions and behavior. Keeping a pet also gives you a sense of purpose because you’re responsible for caring for another life.

Social benefits: Having a constant companion reduces your risk for loneliness, isolation and depression. That’s especially important if you’re moving to a new place and trying to get acquainted with your surroundings. Pets are also good icebreakers and may help you start conversations and make friends with fellow animal lovers. 

Pet Regulations in Assisted Living Facilities

Each assisted living facility will have its own pet regulations, such as breed restrictions, weight limits and the number of animals per room. Your pet will be required to be up to date on its vaccinations.

There are often non-refundable deposits for keeping an animal in assisted living. You could also pay a monthly pet fee.

The staff may ask to meet your pet for a behavioral assessment before you move in to learn about its temperament. You will be primarily responsible for the care and well-being of your animal. Some assisted living communities offer support or allow third-party services to manage pet care.

Tips for Keeping You and Your Pet Happy

  • Bring your pet’s toys, bedding, blankets, food and treats to create familiarity in a new environment.
  • Introduce your pet to new people slowly to avoid overwhelming or scaring them.
  • Stick to their normal feeding and sleeping routine.
  • Find designated outdoor spaces for your dog to relieve itself and take walks.
  • Keep food and litterboxes in separate spots.
  • Organize pet supplies and toys to avoid cluttering your living space.
  • Be respectful of other residents who also have pets or don’t want to interact with animals.
  • Ask if there are staff and residents who are allergic to certain pets.

Seniors & Pets at Embassy Healthcare Facilities

Pets are important companions that are often viewed as members of your family. You are welcome to bring your pet when you move into an Embassy Healthcare assisted living facility. Call 216-378-2050 to learn about our pet-friendly communities and regulations.