Are you looking to learn more about pet-friendly assisted living in Arizona? Curious about pet therapy benefits or therapy dogs in nursing homes? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Making the move to senior housing can be a huge adjustment, especially with a facility that doesn’t allow pets. With a bit of digging, though, it’s possible to find assisted living that allows pets or encourages pet therapy for the elderly.

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Benefits for Seniors with Pets

Seniors who have a pets live longer and lead happier, healthier lives. According to research on the subject, having a dog or cat companion can have a positive impact on your emotional and physical health. Not only does it give your life a sense of purpose, but it encourages you to get outside more often.

If you’re a senior with poor health conditions, having a furry friend to care for can help you take the focus off your suffering and give you a sense of normalcy. A pet companion is a great way to introduce some joy to your day to day life. Here are some benefits you may gain from getting a pet:

  • Less loneliness.
  • Fewer doctor visits.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • An easier time dealing with stress.

Pet Therapy Benefits

Pet therapy consists of an individual and a trained animal interacting with each other. This type of therapy can help you cope with or recover from a mental disorder or health issue. It may be a suitable alternative if you’re having trouble finding pet-friendly senior housing. Here are a few ways that pet therapy can benefit the elderly:

  • Improved motor skills.
  • Improved communication.
  • Increased ability to reminisce.
  • Relief for the patient’s family members.

If you’re interested in your dog becoming a therapy dog, you’ll need to get him or her certified for the job.

How to Find Pet-Friendly Assisted Living in AZ

If you live in Arizona and are wondering, “Can I bring my dog to a nursing home?” you don’t need to worry. Arizona is one of the most pet-friendly states in America. You can simply search online for pet-friendly senior housing in the state or call around to various facilities to ask if they accept animals.

Pet-friendly assisted living will typically accept small pets such as fish, birds, cats, and smaller dogs. Here are some questions to ask facilities when you’re trying to choose one that will let you bring your pet:

  • What’s your weight limit policy for dogs?
  • How much is your pet fee or deposit?
  • What are your pet-related rules?
  • Do you have an easily accessible area to walk pets?

These questions will help you find the right place for you and your pet. In addition to finding out about pet policies at the nursing home you’re interested in, it’s also wise to educate yourself about the animal laws in the county where you live.

Bringing Your Dog to a Nursing Home

Are you interested in bringing your dog to a nursing home to visit a relative? Pets are therapeutic and beneficial for isolated and elderly people. If you’d like to bring your dog to a senior housing facility, you’ll need to make sure you go about it legally and safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Contact the senior housing manager: Before you bring your pet to the nursing facility, you’ll need to contact the business manager. Ask them what steps you need to follow before bringing your dog. While some just want you to bring proof of vaccines, other managers may ask you to put your dog through training first.

Make sure your pet is appropriate: Once the manager has approved the visit, you’ll need to ensure your dog is suitable for a nursing home environment. Is he reliable, trained, friendly, and predictable? Have you made sure he’s up-to-date on his shots and that his nails are trimmed?

Keep your pet on a leash: For the safety of the nursing home residents, it’s a good idea to keep your dog on a 4-foot leash during your visit. Otherwise, he may get excited and jump on someone.

If bringing your dog to a senior housing facility is something you’d like to do on a regular basis, make sure you train your dog accordingly.

Service Dogs for Seniors

You may choose to get a service dog instead of seeking pet-friendly assisted living in Arizona. Service dogs are pets that will perform certain tasks for you. These impressive companions can guide a blind person around town, help people with dementia, and pull wheelchairs.

A service dog is there to meet the needs that you may have a hard time meeting yourself. Here are some tasks that service pets can fulfill:

  • Alerting you to sounds, such as a ringing phone or siren.
  • Reminding you to take your medications.
  • Picking up an item you dropped.
  • Flipping the lights on or off.
  • Calming a panic attack.
  • Waking you up.

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service pets are legally allowed in public areas, including airplanes and nursing homes.

Ideal Dog Breeds for the Elderly

The best breed and size dog for you depends on how well you can care for it and the rules of the assisted living facility you’re interested in. Typically, older dogs are best for elderly people because they tend to be better trained with a calmer temperament. Older pets are also likelier to obey commands and walk without pulling on their leash.

Most pet-friendly senior facilities have weight limits for the pets they accept, so make sure you ask about this. Typically, a retirement home will prefer that their residents own a smaller dog. According to the above considerations, here are some suitable dog breeds for seniors:

  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu
  • Poodle
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Bolognese

Need help with estate planning for pets, Arizona laws about animals, or other related questions? Contact one of our attorneys for assistance.

Call the JacksonWhite ALTCS team at (480)467-4337 to discuss your case today.

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