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 Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin areas that already offer this option.
Seniors who love animals will be the first to tell you about how their cat or dog provides much-needed companionship, exercise and even health benefits like improved mood and lower blood pressure — but when it comes time to move into assisted living, that enthusiasm may turn to worry. Will your senior parent be able to bring their pet with them into an apartment or care home? Does mom’s senior living community have a pet-friendly policy or a pet therapy program?
Not every assisted living facility has a pet-friendly policy, but the ones who do will be quick to describe the benefits of having an animal or two around the place. At Laurel Oaks, near Milwaukee, WI, pets are more than welcome, they’re cherished: “Each and every day we see the joy that pets bring to residents in our community, those who move in with residents, those pets we invite in for therapy or those that stop by for simple meets and greets.”
Meadowmere Madison Assisted Living Community has several dogs and cats sharing the premises with their human residents. Their pet policy is simple: there’s an initial fee, and some simple paperwork indicating that the pet has had appropriate shots and veterinary visits. As long as a resident is able to keep caring for their pet, then cats, small dogs, even birds are welcome.
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Meadowmere also partners with a local volunteer group called Dogs On Call, which regularly brings therapy dogs to visit the residents and interact with them. Wilson, a Springer spaniel, and Ozzie, a golden retriever, are well known around the community, and experienced in interacting with a variety of individuals, including seniors with dementia. According to Laura Burke, the Activities Director, it provides a chance to interact and reminisce about beloved pets.
“It’s really nice because residents are talking about the dog they had, or we ask people to bring pictures of their dogs they used to have.” It’s become a very popular program with staff and residents alike. “It’s been really well received. Even staff will come in and they’re excited about the dogs,” Laura says. “It’s an extra perk if you’re a dog or a pet person.”
Dogs On Call, which visits hospice, classrooms, libraries, dorms, and hospitals as well as assisted living facilities, is not the only unusual pet program in Wisconsin. The Animal Foundation and Pet Pantry of Wisconsin is devoted to “making a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them by providing pet food to low-income citizens and senior citizens.” Through pet food drives and other donations, they help seniors and other pet owners in need. They are located north of Madison and Milwaukee, in the Green Bay area. Lastly, the Wisconsin Humane Society in Milwaukee maintains extensive listings of pet-friendly housing throughout the region.
Senior living communities have different pet policies with specific weight limits and breed restrictions, so it’s important to do your research. For example, some communities have ‘pet interviews’ to determine whether the pet is right for their community, while others allow dogs and cats under 20 lbs. Birds and fish are also welcome in many communities, and some communities even have Pet Coordinators to care for the furry and feathered friends. 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. Below are the pet friendly assisted living communities in both the Madison and Milwaukee areas.
Madison Pet-Friendly Communities
Avalon Assisted Living
Elmcroft of Madison
Madison Pointe Senior Living
Sylvan Crossings on Chapel Valley
Meadowmere Madison Assisted Living Community
Oak Park Place Madison
Harmony of McFarland
Brookdale Madison West
Sylvan Crossings in Westshire Village
Milwaukee Pet-Friendly Communities
Matthews of St. Francis II
Mitchell Manor AL & Meadowmere West Allis
Heritage West Allis
Sylvan Crossings at Creekside Estates
The Polonaise at Wilson Commons
Homestead Ridge Assisted Living – Bayside
Matthews of Glendale II
St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus
Heritage at Deer Creek
Meadowmere Oak Creek Senior Living Community
The Cornerstone of Oak Creek