The Dos and Don’ts of Bringing Kids and Pets to Visit Assisted Living Residents


There is a reason that senior living communities open their doors and arms to animal and children visitors — it makes the facility feel more like home! Many retirement community activities directors will schedule visits from local animal therapy groups and partner with local schools to host choir practice or let the drama students perform. If you have a loved one who lives in an assisted living community, we want to help provide you with some helpful tips on visiting with your kids and/or pets.

The Dos of Bringing Your Kids and Pets to Assisted Living

Get permission.

Before you just show up with your gaggle of toddlers or pack of puppies, check with the facility to make sure it’s okay. Most of the times and most facilities, it will not only be okay, but will be welcomed and encouraged! However, if there is a resident with an allergy or phobia, or your loved one is on isolation for some reason, they may request that you postpone the visit or keep it outside the facility. Additionally, you may have to obtain some vaccines or submit paperwork to the facility.

Do it!

Absolutely consider bringing your kids and pets to visit! As long as the facility allows it, there is really no reason that you shouldn’t or couldn’t bring your little or furry family members to visit. Both children and pets can provide a lift in mood and energy to the entire atmosphere of the assisted living facility. Be prepared for the “oohs” and “awws” from all of the residents as they see your little tagalongs. Bringing your loved ones pets can be even more uplifting for both the pet and your loved one. Inspire positivity when you reconnect two beings that love each other.

Bathe Them Before and After

Your dogs and babies that is! Make sure that your children and pets are clean and groomed before taking them into an assisted living facility. Not only does this make them appear more presentable, but it also prevents them from carrying germs, dirt, and extra fur into the facility. Bathing them afterward, especially the children, helps to wash away any germs that may be in the facility — as well as the kisses from cheeks!

Feed and Walk Them First

To help prevent your children and pets from getting restless or anxious during their visit, make sure they are fed. In addition, make sure your dogs have gone for a walk to help use up energy and calm them down, this may also be necessary for your rowdy toddler! If your children are of napping age, make sure they have had a nap and are fresh and awake to prevent them from getting fussy.

Keep Them on a Short Leash

For pets, keep them on a leash at all times, unless closed in your loved one’s room. Though they may be friendly, not every resident will appreciate your pet and your pet could pose a tripping hazard if they are left to wander. While you won’t keep your child on a physical leash, make sure they are within arm’s reach of you at all times to prevent them getting into anything they shouldn’t, wandering off, or being tripped over.

The Don’ts of Bringing Your Kids and Pets to Assisted Living

Bring Aggressive or Loud Pets or Children

For the safety and peace of all residents, if your pet is loud or aggressive, or your child is prone to throwing tantrums, it is best not to bring them to the assisted living facility. Even if your aggressive pet wears a muzzle or you can bring them in a kennel, there is a lot of liability that can cost you a lot of an incident were to occur. If you still want to visit, bring your loved one outside for a visit in the courtyard, at your car, or even bring them to your home instead.

Come Unprepared

To prevent any uncomfortable situations, don’t head to the assisted living facility with your pet or child without doing some preparation. Prep your pet or child for what to expect at the assisted living center and prepare them for the fact that strangers may also want to say hello. Prepare everything they will need in a diaper-bag of sorts to make sure that you are not caught unprepared if your pet or child needs to relieve themselves, wants a snack, or needs to be entertained.

Stay Long

If you have children and/ or pets in tow, it is a good idea to limit the length of your visit. This visit will be exciting for everyone and extending the length can create some anxiety for your pets, children, and the residents. Allow your loved one to visit and get in all the pets and snuggles they can, and then make an exit before the situation becomes stressful. You can plan follow-up visits and take pictures of the current one as a momento for your loved one.

When children and pets visit assisted living communities, it is a welcomed treat for the residents. These visits provide joy and smiles that can last days! Wagging tales and little hugs can bring a sense of calm and peace to the facility. If you decide to bring your child and/ or pet, just be mindful of these helpful tips and your visit should be a great experience for all! To visit your loved one at Heritage Assisted Living in New Jersey, contact our friendly staff for more good tips. We look forward to seeing you!