As a senior getting ready to change your living accommodations, you may be excited and nervous at the same time. You know that you want to bring your dog or cat with you, but you’re unsure of how life will change for them – and you – once you are no longer living in a private home. Fortunately, many assisted living centers now recognize the special bond between people and their pets and accept animals on a case-by-case basis.
If you have yet to decide on your next abode, keep reading for a few quick tips (presented by Country Companion Animal Hospital) Below, we will touch on important steps that you can take as a responsible pet owner before moving yourself and your furry friend into senior housing.
Have your animal examined.
One of the first things you should do before looking into assisted living with your pet is to have them examined. Country Companion Animal Hospital can handle this for you and can provide a health certificate, which may be required by your facility of choice. Your veterinarian can also easily add a microchip and spay or neuter your pet. Having these steps taken care of will make your pets a more viable candidate to move with you.
Understand the added cost.
According to Pet Organics, your lifetime cost of owning a cat or dog comes into more than $30,000 to $42,500, respectively. This does not include the added expenses of bringing an animal into assisted living. Many assisted living centers that do accept pets charge an initial fee along with an increased monthly rental charge. This may be just a few dollars to several hundred each month and covers things like a pet care professional on-site, added cleaning, and potential damage to your room and common areas.
Know how you will pay.
Speaking of cost, knowing that you will be out of pocket more each month, it pays to make plans well ahead of time on how you’ll pay for assisted living. This might be your savings or a long-term care insurance policy. However, it might be necessary to sell your home and use the equity to pay for assisted living expenses. If you want to get the most out of your property, make sure to fix minor problems, such as cracked windows, ripped carpet, and leaking pipes, that might allow buyers to haggle for a lower price.
Visit multiple “pet-friendly” facilities.
Pet-Friendly Senior Living notes that there are more than 50,000 options for seniors with pets in the United States. This means that you do not have to settle for the first option to arise. No two senior living centers are alike, and you will do yourself and your pet a favor by visiting multiple before you make a commitment. During your tour, you’ll not only want to watch how the staff interacts with current residents, but also request to see the outdoor areas. Is there a fenced-in location for your dog to be off-leash?
Have a plan for a worst-case scenario.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, make sure that you have a contingency plan in place in the off chance to become unable to care for your beloved companion. Most senior living facilities requireyou to identify an individual for this before you bring your dog or cat on campus. Your emergency contact can be a family member or a pet care service that you trust to take over should your animal companion need to be temporarily rehomed.
The bond between people and pets is not one easily broken. Seniors, especially, can benefit from the companionship of a dog or cat. When you are ready to move into assisted living, you do not have to give up this relationship. But, do your research. Know which facilities accept animals, and make a point to understand the added costs.
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