To Stay Competitive in Senior Living, Allow Pets

Senior living communities are increasingly being asked about pets by potential residents. For as many as 40% of older Americans, it is a strong consideration when they are looking to move into an assisted living or independent living community, according to an Associated Press report citing data from A Place For Mom.

While not everyone is looking for a community that allows pets, some are seeing that more than a quarter of residents will bring them, if they are allowed. And they are not limited to cats and dogs, AP reports.

Pet-friendly living centers are still in the minority, so people who don’t like animals will easily find centers that say “No Pets Allowed.”


But some living centers are cultivating small menageries.

At the Silverado Senior Living center in Encinitas, 25 miles north of San Diego, residents have miniature horses and for several months every year, a very young kangaroo, said Steve Winner, co-founder and chief of culture for the company’s 23 centers in six states, including Illinois and Texas.

They’ve had a pot-bellied pig, chinchillas, guinea pigs and even a llama until he got too big, said Winner, who estimated that 20 percent of their new residents move in with pets.


When it’s time to walk the dogs, a staff member might play “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men as a signal that it’s time to put leashes on the dogs.

Kogan founded a prototype program called Pets Forever, a Colorado State class where students earn credits while helping elderly and disabled pet owners care for their animals.

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Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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