A Place for Mom is on a mission to spread the word about the benefits of pet-friendly assisted living. We would also like to award those assisted living communities in the Dallas area who allow pets.
According to Tami Cumings, Senior Vice President of A Place for Mom, pet friendly amenities are high on a lot of families’ lists when looking for assisted living, she estimates that 40 percent of people ask about pets when calling.” The problem is that not all assisted living communities allow pets. While more assisted living facilities accept animal companions than ever before, it’s still not the norm. Research has shown that having pets benefits seniors in many ways, including lowering their risk for heart disease and stress, as well as, providing them with a companion and improved quality of life. In return, the pets are not displaced and receive their love and adoration from not only their owners, but also from other seniors in the community. Many of the pets become ‘mascots’ of the communities and bring smiles to the faces of the seniors who live there.
Dallas pet organizations are in great support of seniors bringing their beloved pets into their assisted living homes. According to one of the board members at The Humane Society of Dallas County, “I’ll live in a hut in the woods if they try to take my pets away when it’s my time for assisted living. When my dad was in the hospital after a stroke we snuck in his cat. This was the only time I saw him smile during that ordeal.” And Kelly Carden, Paws In The City’s Community Outreach Coordinator in Dallas is also an advocate of seniors and pets: “Many of the available dogs and cats through Paws In The City have found loving and forever homes with senior citizens. These owners are able to provide them continuous love and care which means the world to these animals. In return, these animals provide eternal love and purpose to their owners.”
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SPCA of Texas applauds assisted living communities who are making the ‘no pet’ restriction a policy of the past. With the growing ranks of pet-friendly assisted living communities in the Dallas area, there’s no need for seniors to give up their pets.
If you’re not already convinced about the many benefits seniors receive from pets, here are some reasons why dogs, cats — even “creatures of the sea”— as some communities include in their pet policy are welcome in senior homes:
And the great part? Most Dallas senior living communities have Pet Coordinators to ensure the pets are getting appropriate medications and daily, healthy meals.
It’s important to do your research, some communities offer dog grooming and dog walking services for many sizes and breeds. Others only allow small pets with a weight restriction (usually under 20 pounds) — limiting the pets to small dogs, birds, fish, rabbits or cats. Some communities only allow pets on a case-by-case basis. So make sure to contact your communities of choice and ask about their particular pet policy.
Many communities offer pet therapy programs in which gentle animals make healing guest appearances. In fact, The Humane Society of Dallas has a volunteer who visits local nursing homes: “One of our volunteers has worked with a pet therapy program, through which a local shelter sends kittens and puppies to visit an area nursing home. The joy the residents’ exhibit when they get to cuddle a little furry friend clearly confirms the therapeutic impact a pet can have on anyone!”
For more in-depth information about the benefits seniors receive from their furry companion, read our article on “How Pet Therapy Has Changed Assisted Living.”