Written by: Cindy Aldridge
If the thought of assisted living brings to mind a small shared room in a boring clinical-type environment, you're in for a big surprise. Today's assisted living communities offer several room options and extra amenities in park-like settings. Wellness activities are included to help you thrive in your golden years. Here is how to find the right community for you and your pet.
How to Pay for Assisted Living
The first step in your move is to determine how much you can afford to pay for assisted living. A recent survey found that, on average, you can expect to pay around $4,000 a month. Your amount could be higher or lower depending on the location of the community you choose and the level of care you need (and possibly in the future).
The sale of your home can provide the funds for many years in a senior community. To get top dollar, hire a real estate agent to market your house. Make any needed repairs on the property so it will be viewed as a turnkey home that is ready to be moved into by the new owner.
In addition to the proceeds from your home sale, you have several other options to pay for assisted living, including your retirement funds, veteran benefits, long-term care insurance, or Medicaid. Add up all the funding sources available to you to come up with a monthly amount you can afford.
How to Find the Right Community
Reach out to at least three of the pet-friendly senior living communities in your area to arrange a tour of their facilities. Allow a couple of hours so you can evaluate each of the properties thoroughly.
While you are there:
Ask questions about the staff, amenities, health care options, and activities
Take a tour of the apartments available in your price range to see if you would be comfortable living there
Request a meal in the dining room to give the food a try
Talk to some of the residents about what it is like to live there and to see if you share common interests
Get details about the pet policy and ensure the size and breed of your pet are allowed
Take detailed notes about your observations at each location and spend time thinking through which location is the right choice for you and your pet.
How to Care for Your Pet
The ASPCA recommends that you get your pet used to staying in a room that you will pack up last or pre-arrange to have your pet stay over at a friend’s house. Also, get your pets used to crates by having them eat food within the crate, giving treats to them in the crate, and walking around the house or making small trips with your pet in the crate. This way, your pets will associate good memories with crates, making it easier on moving day.
After your move, your pet will be adjusting to the new living space just like you will. This will likely be a smaller space than the one you came from, so be sure to keep your pet’s toys stored when not in use, lest they become a tripping hazard. Following these tips will help him or her ease into the new home:
Set up a dedicated space for your pet with a comfy bed, food, and toys
Provide your furry friend with extra attention and treats during the transition
Order the food and supplies online and have them delivered directly to your assisted living facility
Participate in any group pet activities to get to know other pet owners
Take your dog for walks regularly and make playtime with your cat a top priority
If you find that your pet has difficulty adjusting to the new environment and develops behavior issues as a result, look for professional help that can help you resolve these issues
It takes planning, research, and on-site investigation to find the right assisted living community for you and your pet. This isn’t a decision you (or anyone else) should make lightly. Although it requires hard work, the final result will be worth it.
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<About the Author>
Cindy Aldridge is the creator of ourdogfriends.org, a website advocating for the love and ownership of dogs. She believes that dogs truly are our best friends and wants to see fewer dogs in shelters and more in loving homes.