Pet Friendly Assisted Living Facility Guide | sixty and me (2023)

moving to aassisted living facilitybut stuck with fear if your pet is allowed too? Don't worry, we're here to provide you with all the answers, plus the benefits of having your pet by your side at all times. Whether you already own a pet or are looking in the market to become a pet owner, know that it is possible to have a companion pet as a senior transitioning to assisted living.

As you make the decision to transition to an assisted living facility or look for a new place, having a pet with you unfortunately narrows your options somewhat, but it can be worth it. We help you navigate all the ins and outs of finding pet-friendly assisted living facilities and also provide you with an educational toolkit on the benefits of being a senior pet owner.

Are pets allowed in assisted living facilities?

You may have heard mixed responses when you asked about pet-friendly assisted living facilities, but let's get straight to the point: Pets are welcome, but each facility has its own policies. Fortunately, we walk you through the basic details that should solve most of your concerns. Let's look at some common FAQs!

  1. Pet Friendly Assisted Living Facility 101
    • Pet-friendly assisted living facilities are slowly increasing as the benefits of seniors owning a pet far outweigh the drawbacks.
    • Older people who have pets tend to feel less lonely, have better health, and are more active. More on this below with research showing huge benefits!
    • Assisted living facilities now offer pet services, conveniently located near dog parks and pet grooming services
  2. What pets are allowed in assisted living facilities?
    • Each assisted living facility has its own pet policy, which means you may get different answers from place to place.
    • Pet policies are usually not specifically explained on their website, but you can expect things like "We welcome your furry friends at ___".
    • Each facility is expected to have a non-refundable pet fee in the range of $200-$300 along with a monthly pet rent fee of ~$20-30 per month. A two pet limit tends to be the standard for most assisted living facilities as well.
    • There will be an initial pet screening process when you meet with staff, with pet guidelines under 20 pounds. Exceptions can be made based on knowing the animal and its owners. Staff decisions depend primarily on the behavior of the animal, the health of the owner/resident, and the ability of the owner/resident to care for the pet safely.
  3. Will there be other pets around?
    • If the assisted living facility is pet friendly, expect there to be residents who also have pets. As with most things, it is up to the residents if they choose to have their pets interact with each other.
    • Residents who have pet allergies may stay in a different wing of the Assisted Living Facility. As a sign of respect for all residents, some facilities have designated areas where pets are not allowed.
  4. Are there tips for caring for pets in assisted living facilities?
    • Please bring your pet's favorite blankets, toys or furniture to facilitate their entry into the apartment.
    • Make sure you have designated areas where your pet can hang out, as the apartment unit may be smaller than their original homes.
    • Choose and designate safe places for their feeders and litter boxes.
    • Be sure to keep things neat and clutter-free, as you also want to decrease the risk of falls.
    • Most assisted living facilities have designated areas for pets to walk or potty.
    • Be respectful that not all residents share the same feelings that you have about pets.
  5. Where can I find pet-friendly assisted living facilities?
    2. In the large search bar, enter your city name or zip code to find all pet-friendly assisted living facilities near you.
    3. A long list of facilities will be completed later. A brief overview is provided under each facility's name along with their contact information. If you would like to see pricing and availability for a specific facility, please call the number provided or sign up with your name, email, and phone number.

Benefits of having a pet among seniors

More and more assisted living facilities are making the transition to become a pet-friendly facility with some even going so far as to encourage some seniors to keep pets. However, this has not always been the case, as many transitional facilities failed to recognize the benefits that could be gained from pet ownership among seniors.

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In the United States, experts studying the relationship between older people and pets found that about25 percentof older people live in the company of a pet. Among older people who own pets, especially those who live alone, older pet owners spend more than80 percentof the day bonding with your pet. As people become aware of the extraordinary physical and mental health benefits of pet ownership among seniors, assisted living facilities are slowly encouraging pet ownership among their residents.

Research experts have found that the top benefits among seniors and pet ownership include:

  • Find purpose, value and structure in their lives.
  • Greater sense of comfort and security.
  • Social inclusion and participation in the community.

How exactly are the benefits produced? A formal term known as the "human-animal bond" was coined by a team ofresearcherswhich has been described as

  • A close, specialized bond between a pet and its owner that can promote positive mental health in older people.
  • Multiplestudieshave shown the role of pet ownership among older people that there is a strong positive relationship between owning a pet and the general well-being of the pet owner. For seniors who keep a pet to intentionally assist them with their own personal care and emotional needs, the positive wellness benefits are even greater.
  • Among older people with limited social outlets, pet ownership wasreportedas one of their most valuable and important relationships among seniors to help reduce feelings of emotional loneliness.

Purpose, value and structure

The world can seem like a bleak or confusing place when a person is trying to find a new purpose in life. With many new life transitions that seniors experience, finding a new purpose in life can seem daunting. We lose motivation to continue with the day. Our routines become mundane. Activities we used to enjoy become scarce and lose their value.

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researchersconducted interviews with seniors living in the community who own pets and found that many of the participants found a new purpose in life, developed new routines, and valued their relationship with their pets. The new routines expressed by the participants included:

  • A woman named Jasmine said that having a pet gave them "a bit of structure" that she enjoyed taking care of on a day-to-day basis.
  • A man named Michael emphasized that his routine responsibilities to "walk your pet, let him out, let him back in, fill up the water, feed them, and clean up after them" gave him a new value that he wouldn't be. able to find without a pet.

Pets also served as a strong source of motivation for older adults to actively participate in activities instead of staying at home. Many older people described their experiences as pet owners to:

  • It plays an important role in allowing them to have something productive to look forward to, giving them a sense of purpose, value, and ultimately improving their self-esteem and overall mental health.
  • A woman named Nancy mentioned that her pet was the reason she had the motivation to "get up and do things every day."
  • A woman named Iris shared an emotional experience about how owning a pet brought life, meaning and purpose back to her life by creating a routine for herself: "All my life, more or less, I've always been taking care of people." Family, children, and then my partner. And all of that was gone, so I felt pretty worthless. So, she (pet) gave me a sense of purpose."

If you find yourself in the same boat as these shared experiences, keeping your pet or becoming a new pet owner can help you with feelings of loneliness, loss of motivation, and becoming more active. Of course, it's not an absolute solution, but what you put into the relationship can yield what you can gain from the relationship as a pet owner. Through the physical things you have to do and the exhilarating brain work required to care for a pet, the overwhelming mental health benefits continue to be positive among older pet owners.

Comfort and Safety

In the same group of elderly pet owners who participated in theinvestigationstudy, comfort and safety were a recurring theme. Many of the participants shared:

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  • Pets were a cure-all for seniors when it came to improving their mood, providing companionship, and a sense of security.
  • Pets were 'steady', in the sense that pets were reliable companions to rely on, so pets had the ability to show their 'care for you as much as you care for them'.
  • A woman named Vivian said the pet provided "unconditional love."
  • A woman named Iris shared how her pet helped her with her depression diagnosis, saying that after having her pet, she was "so much better" and "so much happier" because of the bond she was allowed as a pet owner.
  • A man named Ben shared how his 11-year-old pet was able to help him through his grieving process for his late wife: 'When my wife died, she was comforting me, not talking to each other... The recovery was much shorter because of the dog .

Finding solace in another person takes time, effort, and several years. For older people who have limited social outlets, this can be particularly challenging. Pets function as an immediate source of comfort by being a reliable source of companionship, reciprocal emotional support, along with simply being present. Often, as shared by Ben, pets can bring relief in the grieving process simply by being there, no words or conversations required.

In very rare circumstances, pets have also been able to pick up on health problems experienced by their owners. As shared by a participant named Isabel, her pet had the ability to tell when she wasn't feeling well:

  • 'I've had epilepsy since I was a teenager... Cleo (pet) told me in her own way that I would have a seizure before I had one... She would use that kind of bark, and I knew I had to go and lie down.'

Although it is a rare case, pets have the ability to help with their owners' sense of security, as well as fill the void in the home by happily greeting many of their owners when they came home, as shared by many of the participants. :

  • 'A house is not a home without someone in it... when you walk through that door and someone is so happy to see you, it brings you up.'

Inclusión Social y Participación

Pets can sometimes function as a bridge to making new friends and rekindling relationships with family and old friends. At the end of the day, it's hard to maintain a relationship with someone when there isn't a community or sense of purpose for returning to a particular setting. As adults and seniors, our relationships stem primarily from the activities we do every day, our jobs, and our hobbies. Many older people quit their jobs and decreased their involvement in hobbies as it became more difficult to get from one place to another with new physical limitations.

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Pet ownership continued to prove a remarkable antidote to declining social participation among older people. In the sameinvestigationstudy, older participants described their pets as a "connector" between them and others. Shared experiences of older people and their ability to improve their social outings included:

  • A man named Ben described his experience with maintaining and creating new friendships because of his pet: "The social connection takes 20 minutes, and it just matures, and everyone stays friendly together."
  • A man named Morris shared his ability to rekindle old friendships he met 40 years ago through his pet-related activities: "They were pretty much all strangers." But now I know the names of half of them, and the names of most of their dogs…dogs meet first, then you meet people.”
  • A woman named Vivian shared how her pet led her to get involved in a virtual community on social media and helped her develop new peers despite living alone: ​​"She (pet) has her own Instagram page... Always I post on Facebook because we belong to the “Groodle and Oodle” pages… And we also have dog meetups and they are all through Facebook.'
  • A participant named Michael shared how his pet led him to develop a lifelong friend who started inviting him to celebratory events like breakfasts, birthdays, and even a wedding.

As adults, we understand the difficulty of maintaining meaningful friendships. Some are fleeting, some never develop, and some are just courtesy gestures that probably won't lead to anything substantial. Through routine and constant interaction through a few agents in a community are opportunities for meaningful friendships to flourish. Pets seem to be this "agent" for the elderly. Increased socializations greatly enhance the general well-being shared among older pet owners through pet-related interactions.

Challenges of having a pet in the elderly

It would be remiss to say that there are only positive results when older people have a pet. While pet ownership presents challenges, it is important to note that seniors who are able to own a pet experience benefits that far outweigh the negatives. What determines if an older person should have a pet or not?

  • If an elderly person's health is poor enough and they tend to ignore their health to take care of a pet, it would be wiser to avoid having a pet.
  • Seniors experiencing low financial resources should also avoid pets. As a pet owner, seniors must consider their own ability to meet their own needs along with the needs of a pet. It has been reported ininvestigationstudies among staff members working in assisted living facilities indicate that residents forgo their own necessities and instead spend it on their pets, harming their own health.
  • Seniors sometimes jeopardize or delay their ability to transition into assisted living facilities if they are not allowed to stay with their pets.
  • Some seniors experience extreme distress when they lose their beloved pet. If an older person has a history of poor coping strategies, owning a pet is not recommended as the distress can become severe and ultimately affect their mental health.

The best breeds of dogs and cats for seniors

Are you in the market or are you still window shopping for a pet? Before you make that final decision, know what you're getting yourself into before you pull the trigger. See below for a list of dog and cat breeds that have been vet-endorsed to be more compatible with seniors.

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  • Burmese: An affectionate, gentle and intelligent cat. They are playful but not too playful. Known for their ability to form close bonds. Hair length is medium long, has moderate activity levels, and is easily groomed.
  • Rag doll:An affectionate and calm cat who is known for his affection and laid-back personality. They love to follow their owners and help with things that you may be doing. The coat is long-haired, moderate activity levels, and easy to groom.
  • British Shorthair: Nicknamed the "teddy bear" of the cat family, they are good natured, playful as kittens but gentle as adults. They are independent creatures and spend their time having fun. The coat is short-haired, low activity levels, and the short hairs facilitate grooming.


  • Poodle – Known for being easy to train, eager to please their owners, and does not require much exercise. They are content resting at home and are ideal for seniors due to their gentle and loving personalities. Grooming is a bit heavy (every four to six weeks) but don't shed.
  • Cocker: Rated as one of the best companions for seniors. Their weight ranges from 20 to 30 pounds and they have no stored energy to dissipate. Regular walks are necessary. They are easy to train, have long coats, and enjoy playing in open spaces.
  • French Bulldog: One of the best breeds for seniors who live in an apartment. They don't have a lot of energy, have a good mood, and are goofy personalities. Known for their cuddles, they make a great match for seniors who want lots of affection from their pets.


Can you have a cat in a care home? ›

However, many care homes do welcome pets and will allow you to bring your pet with you so it is a case of finding the right pet-friendly care home for you. People have been known to keep cats, guide dogs, hamsters, rabbits, even their own chickens in care homes.

What does pet friendly home mean? ›

A place that is suitable for pets or where you can stay with your pet.

How do you build a pet relief area? ›

Basic Amenities and Resources. Be sure your relief area includes: Pet-friendly turf, grass or another surface that's gentle on paws in all types of weather. Adequate separation from vehicular traffic areas, at minimum allowing a few feet between the relief area and a parking lot or street.

How many cats can one person take care of? ›

Maximum six

According to experts, an individual must not have more than five cats. If you really love cats, six is the maximum. There is no going more than this amount. This is as it is impossible for any person or even a household to care for more than six cats.

How long can you leave a house cat home alone? ›

How long can cats be left alone? Most felines will be perfectly content being left alone for up to 8 hours while you're at work. As long as fresh water is available, some cats can be left alone for up to 24 hours.

How many weeks can you take a cat home? ›

Kittens should stay with their mothers for 12 to 13 weeks of age for them to be properly developed physically and behaviorally. The kitten needs to be weaned before being placed in a new home because much of its nutrients comes from the mother cat's milk.

Why you should never give pets away free to a good home? ›

The pet will not be cared for properly and is often allowed to roam the streets. Abused. The owner will not make the effort to properly train the animal. Often this leads to inappropriate responses from the owner and abuse of the pet when it “misbehaves.”

How do I keep my pet friendly house clean? ›

Keep on reading to find out how to keep a clean home and let your pet run free all at the same time.
  1. Make all your rugs indoor-outdoor rugs. ...
  2. Coat surfaces in dark paint. ...
  3. Spray your pet's food bowls with cooking spray. ...
  4. Get some latex gloves. ...
  5. Add shaving cream to your cleaning supply kit. ...
  6. Skewer some baby wipes.
Mar 25, 2020

What does a pet friendly couch mean? ›

Tightly Woven Fabrics

And while certain woven fabrics make it easy for pets to snag them with their claws, an ultra-tight weave prevents rips from the occasional scratch. Some companies, like Burrow, even test their fabrics against pet scratches to ensure they can stand up to claws as well as stains.

What spray makes dogs poop in one area? ›

Nature's Miracle House-Breaking Potty Training Spray is specially formulated to help train dogs to relieve themselves where you want them to. Pheromonal scents, detectable only by a dog's delicate senses, act as a signal telling dogs it's okay to "go" on the spot you have sprayed.

Where should dog pee in backyard? ›

The potty yard should slope away from your house and not toward any areas that you use. No one wants urine run-off where they garden, eat, or relax.

What is the best ground for dog poop? ›

Pea Gravel is a good alternative to regular gravel because of its small, smooth pebbles. It will not hurt your pups feet like gravel can. But like regular gravel you may find yourself picking up the rocks as you pick up the poop.

How many cats is considered hoarding? ›

The BBC report explains that the average cat hoarder has between 15 and 20 cats. But the worst case mentioned is a household with 40 to 50 feline pets. The RCPCA is having to intervene when these owners become unable to care for all of their pets properly and safely.

Is 5 pets too many? ›

There is no set number of pets that works for everyone. It all comes down to how much space you have, your ability to pay for their food and vet care, and your ability to care for them. If you can not truly provide for them, you have too many.

Can 2 cats get lonely? ›

Because of the attachments they form, the answer is yes; cats can feel lonely! While each kitty has a unique personality and needs, the following signs could indicate a lonely cat: Destructive behavior. Loss or increase in appetite.

Can I leave my cat home alone for 1 week? ›

Most adult cats are fine being left home alone for up to 24 hours, under the right conditions (more on that below). If you need to leave for two or three days, a full week, or longer, you should make sure someone is coming over to care for your cat daily.

Can I leave my cat home alone for 3 days? ›

No matter how independent your cat is, we do not recommend leaving your cat alone without daily visits from a friend or a professional cat-sitter for more than two or three days. Today, there are many options to care for your cat while you are away. Keep in mind that, cats tend to be independent, territorial animals.

Is it better to board your cat or leave at home? ›

While it may seem that cats are better off in their own home while you're away, they're actually more likely to be better off with a boarder or cattery. Because cats are so independent and easily frightened into hiding, they benefit much more from a controlled environment where they can be closely monitored.

What is the 3 3 3 rule of cats? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your cat to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months.

What is the 3 3 3 rule? ›

The amount of time each individual pet needs to adjust to their new homes will vary, but the 3-3-3 rule helps give an approximation of what new pet owners can expect. The 3-3-3 rule refers to the first 3 days, the first 3 weeks, and the first 3 months after bringing a shelter animal home.

Are male or female cats better? ›

The truth is that the sex of the cat really doesn't matter when it comes to choosing the purrfect pet for you. Although there are some behavioral differences between male and female cats as they grow from kittens to adults, a cat's genetics and environment play a bigger role in how well the two of you will bond.

How much will it cost to build a basic dog house? ›

With just a few tools, it's possible to make a DIY dog house. Dog houses are fairly simple and budget-friendly projects and can be usually be completed by someone with just basic building skills. They'll take anywhere from half a day to a few days to complete and can easily be done for under $100.

What building materials are safe for dogs? ›

Put out a dog bed, or stage a storage area for treats, toys, and pet-related tools. Unlike marble and wood, non-porous materials like laminate, ceramic, and terrazzo are virtually impervious to paw traffic.

What is the best home environment for a dog? ›

Your dog needs a safe, comfortable place to rest, situated in a dry, draught-free area. Living in a cold or damp place can lead to unnecessary suffering. If your dog lives outside, it will need protection from adverse weather or other threats.

What pet does not need a lot of care? ›

Smaller mammals and reptiles may be a good option if you're frequently out of the home for work or other commitments for hours at a time. “Hamsters, mice, reptiles, and fish require the least amount of daily interaction. But guinea pigs and rats make good pets as well,” Kanfer says.

What animal is the hardest to take care of? ›

All pet-patients require the same standard of care, but some species are just harder to treat than others.
  • Why are some animals harder to treat than others? ...
  • Pigs. ...
  • Song birds. ...
  • Hamsters. ...
  • Rattlesnakes. ...
  • Turtles and tortoises. ...
  • Exotic animals. ...
  • The bottom line.
Sep 23, 2018

What is the most loved house pet? ›

1. Dogs. Dogs come in at number one, with48.3 million households owning dogs in the United States, making these four-legged friends one of the most popular pets around. For people who live active lives and love giving out belly rubs, dog ownership can be a rewarding experience.

What is the formula for dog house? ›

The width and length of a dog house should be about 25 percent larger than your dog's nose-to-flank length. To calculate, measure your dog from her nose to the base of her tail, and multiply the result by 1.25. Example: If your dog's length is 25 in., the dog house needs to be at least 31.25 in. wide on each side.

Does a dog house need a floor? ›

Step 1: Plan for a Dog House

The house should have a floor that sits far enough above the ground to prevent water from entering on the rainiest days. Raising the floor will also isolate it from the cold ground in the winter.

What surfaces do dogs hate? ›

That's because there are certain surfaces that dogs just don't like.
What are the surfaces that give doggos the most trouble?
  • Polished marble floors.
  • Smooth hardwood floors (there are some hardwoods that are more distressed and easier for your pup to get a grip)
  • Slippery sealed concrete.
Aug 5, 2019

What floor surface is best for dogs? ›

Durable and truly timeless, porcelain tile, ceramic tile and stone tile have long been go-to options for pet owners. Here's why it's some of the best flooring for dogs: Benefits: Tile is a durable, long-life material.

What material is most comfortable for dogs? ›

Synthetic Fibers & Microfiber Fabric

Synthetic performance and acrylic fabrics are generally used in the most pet-friendly couches. Also known as “ microfiber fabrics ,” the fine fibers used in these types of upholstery are the easiest to clean and make it hard for stains to seep through and set.

What is a dog's favorite area to be pet? ›

Many dogs enjoy petting from trusted people in the following areas: Lower back near the base of the tail. Belly and underside of the chest. Top of the head and neck.

Do dogs like a clean house? ›

Keeping our pet's space clean helps keep disease and parasites at bay, and our furry pals are less likely to encounter injuries and potential dangers in a clutter-free area. It's hard to imagine a dog or a cat thriving if they're spending their time in a place where dust and parasites have gathered.


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