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Seniors and their pets: can they stay together?

Creature Comfort… Aging with Pet Love

For centuries, humans have enjoyed deeply nurturing and enriching bonds with their pets. Creatures of all kinds can lift our spirits, comfort us, shower us with affection and surround us with boundless love.


For some seniors, their furry or feathered friend might be the best part of their day. Their pets might be the reason they get out of bed; the reason they still venture out for a daily walk; one of the few things that makes them smile.


If you have an aging parent or loved one with a devoted pet, chances are it’s heartbreaking to think about having to separate them from one another, down the road.


At AgeCare we believe that having pets in senior homes can not only provide companionship and increase the quality of life for our residents, but it also has a positive effect on our residents’ health.  A 2009 study by the Vanier Institute found that pet ownership can lower stress, reduce loneliness of residents in long-term care communities, improve health during difficult times, and lower the risks of heart disease and other medical conditions.


To allow your loved one to maintain their pet relationship while transitioning to one of our communities, we offer three choices:


  1. We allow pets! Most of our retirement communities allow our independent living residents to move in with their pets, subject to approval. Residents with pets are required to sign a “pet care contract” undertaking to provide all the care and responsibility for their pet. In each community we also maintain pet-free zones.
  2. We encourage families and friends to bring well-behaved vaccinated pets for visits at all of our communities. There are some conditions in place to ensure rules are observed and other residents are not negatively impacted.
  3. We offer pet therapy at all of our senior care communities! We invite regular pet visitations from Pet Access League Society (PALS), and other similar organizations to regularly visit our supportive living and long term care residents. Pet Therapists bring their dogs, cats and various other friendly critters to our communities for residents who crave one-on-one pet time.


For anyone who has experienced the unfaltering devotion of a beloved pet, it’s comforting to know that illness or aging does not have to pose a threat to that enduring relationship. Our faithful friends can accompany us in our new home, or come for regular visits and continue to brighten our days.