How to Find a Long-Term Care Community That Welcomes You and Your Pet

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Our pets are our best friends and can help us age healthfully as we move into our senior years. As it’s time to move into senior housing, you may be wondering how you can make the most of your golden years with your best friend by your side. Fortunately, many senior living centers understand the importance of pets and allow animals. Here, Love & Pawsitivity shares some tips as you begin your search for a new place to call home.

Research pet-friendly communities in your area.

A great first step is to take the time to research long-term care living centers in your community or the community of your choice. While many do allow pets, there might be limits on the number of pet-friendly rooms available. Further, some might specify the maximum size of the animal or limit you to one per room. It’s also best to evaluate yourself and your pet before you move. Can you reasonably care for them each day? Are they young and used to a large yard?

Have your pets spayed or neutered.

Once you find housing that allows pets, the next logical step is to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered if you haven’t yet done so. Removing your pet’s ability to have a litter will help to decrease overpopulation. The American Veterinary Medical Association explains further that neutering an animal also offers some protective health benefits and may reduce frustrating behaviors, such as roaming. Note that this type of procedure isn’t recommended for older animals. 

Make a contingency plan.

Even if you’re in excellent health and now with no mobility impairments, it pays to look ahead to your pet’s well-being just in case. While your long-term care community may have an animal coordination specialist on hand, it’s always smart to have a contingency plan. Talk with your family, including adult children and grandchildren, about whether or not they can take over your pet’s care if you are injured or become temporarily – or permanently – incapacitated. You might also consider outsourcing certain chores, such as walking and grooming, to a pet care service to ensure these get done routinely whether you’re in good health or not.

Understand the cost.

Long-term care is not inexpensive. On the low end, LCT costs average $3,638 per month, but this can easily skyrocket to as much as $7,698 a month or more. Add the expense of a pet into the mix, and your costs can easily skyrocket. Because of this, it also makes sense to know exactly how much you can afford and how you will pay for your new living expenses. For many seniors, this means selling your home. You can live off the equity, and, with a little bit of research, you may be able to get more out of your house by doing some inexpensive home remodeling projects. Other options include tapping into your personal savings or finding an assisted living center that’s affordable based on your Social Security or pension.

If it’s time to move into assisted living, you don’t have to let fear of leaving your furry friend behind stop you. Many centers are progressive enough to allow both dogs and cats, and you have options, such as getting your friends and family to help or hiring a pet sitter, to provide supplemental care on the days you are unable. It takes research, so make sure to start early and choose wisely.

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