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 recognize assisted living communities in the Columbus, Ohio area that already offer this option.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence about seniors and the health benefits of owning pets, but the science has long been there, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, and, of course, loneliness. At the same time, pets help a person exercise and socialize. For these reasons and more, it can be particularly important to find a pet friendly environment if you or a family member is researching senior housing.
If you’re a pet lover in the Columbus, Ohio area, you’ll find plenty of options for pet friendly senior living, whether your parent is looking for independent living, assisted living, or even memory care. In fact, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine takes a special interest in making sure the area’s elderly population has access to pet food and veterinary care, even if they are housebound or have limited mobility.
From resident pets to pet therapy, Columbus’s senior living communities offer a wide range of amenities for animal lovers. To take just one example, Bickford of Scioto not only welcomes pets owned by residents, they have a “community” cat and dog that live on the premises and provide companionship to everyone. Residents can arrange visits or walks with the dog, and each of the nearby Sunrise facilities has a canine friend of its own, too.
Talk with a Senior Living Advisor
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
In fact, the community pets can really break the ice when it comes to getting to know someone, says Tammy Mackey, the Activity Volunteer Coordinator. When Tammy worked at Bickford of Worthington, there was a resident who just wasn’t opening up to her—but the dog soon changed that situation. “I would use the dog as a kind of ambassador between myself and the lady, and after that, we became friendly,” she says. “The dog really did act as an ambassador between the residents and myself. Sometimes the dog will really open up people, if they’ve been withdrawn.”
Therapy animals also have a place at Sunrise Senior Living. According to Tammy: “We have at least three different pet therapy dogs that come in. Worthington actually brought a young alpaca. At Gahanna they set up a petting zoo on the inside of their facility one time.”
Tammy generally takes charge of pets’ grooming and veterinary care at Sunrise on the Scioto, but for seniors who don’t have access to an in-house program, LifeCare Alliance’s Senior Pet Care program can help. It can be difficult for a senior on a fixed income to make ends meet, let alone figure out how to feed and care for a pet, but thanks to volunteers from LifeCare Alliance and the local veterinary school at Ohio State University, a mobile care unit provides checkups, vaccinations, grooming and other services for hundreds of low-income Franklin County residents, many of them elderly. Their AniMeals program, a division of Meals on Wheels, delivers pet food.
It’s a program that educates veterinary students as well as helping area seniors: “Overall it is a win-win situation, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to help those people and pets in need,” says Dr. Linda Lord of the College of Veterinary Medicine, on the Ohio State University website.
Here is a list of pet friendly assisted living communities in the Columbus, Ohio area to help you begin your search. Make sure to check with the specific community to find out whether there are specific weight or breed restrictions, as every community’s policy is different.
Bickford of Worthington
Brookdale Trillium Crossing
The Forum at Knightsbridge
Friendship Village of Columbus
Parkside Senior Living
Paramount Senior Living at Westerville
Bickford of Scioto
Carriage Court – Hilliard
Brookdale Chestnut Hill
Sunrise of Gahanna