Emotional support animals and pets can be a big support for all people, including seniors or those dealing with various emotional or mental health struggles. If you or a loved one finds comfort in the companionship of a pet, then you might ask your therapist or doctor how to get an emotional support animal registration. When the animal is officially an emotional support animal (ESA), you can safely take it to public locations that normally don’t allow pets.  This added layer of support can prove to be beneficial to many seniors that are adjusting to a new retirement community.

Adjusting to a senior independent living community can be an adjustment for a senior. Emotional support animals not only provide companionship but offer a sense of responsibility and normalcy to the senior.  The sense of security that emotional support animals offer can also assist seniors to feel more at ease while participating in group activities.  Anxiety, depression and overwhelm can be common during the senior years, and having a pet can provide a huge help with these mental health struggles.

The research is clear: companion animals provide powerful emotional support for people with emotional or mental health struggles. An emotional support animal registration can be the perfect solution to help a person cope in a stressful world. Emotional support animals offer companionship and security to seniors that are adjusting to a new season of life. 

Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals not only offer companionship, they can also assist with overall quality of life for seniors.  Simply petting an emotional support animal can reduce stress which can lower blood pressure. Staying active and mobile is important for seniors, and the walking, grooming and feeding responsibilities that come with pet ownership can help seniors with their physical health as well.

Chronic illness or the passing of a spouse or friend can create stress and anxiety for seniors. Low maintenance emotional support animals can reduce that stress and anxiety by providing unconditional love and a sense of purpose.  Caring for an animal can boost a seniors self esteem by making them feel useful and necessary.  

Emotional support animals provide unconditional love and affection and offer socialization opportunities to our elderly population.  This is incredibly beneficial, as Isolated seniors can often become withdrawn and lonely.  Assisted living for seniors communities that allow emotional support animals and pets understand and honor the important value that these animals offer in allowing seniors to live their best lives.  The Furtissimo pet program that Cadence Living offers is researched based and emphasizes the importance of pets to seniors both emotionally and socially.  Cadence Living not only recognizes emotional support animals but also sees them as part of the family.

What Animals Can Be Emotional Support Animals?

The definition of an emotional support animal (ESA) is any domesticated animal that offers emotional or mental health benefits to the owner. If you are wondering how to get an emotional support animal, the first question might be about the kind of animal you can use. There are no restrictions regarding the type of animal that can be an emotional support partner:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Snakes
  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets
  • And more

The key is to make sure the ESA is domesticated, manageable in public, and doesn’t create a nuisance for other people. You want to make sure that having an emotional support animal is reducing your stress level, not creating more stress due to the care required to support it.  

Unlike other types of support animals that require intensive training, such as seeing-eye dogs, emotional support animals are not required to have specific training to meet the requirements for emotional support animal registration. This lessens the burden of ownership for seniors since they do not need to invest in training and can instead focus on the benefit 

One thing to consider is the amount of care the animal will need. If someone requires extra support, then low-maintenance emotional support animals are ideal for minimizing the daily chores. For example, a senior with mobility limitations might be better suited with an ESA cat instead of a dog because there is no need to walk the cat outside several times a day.

How to Make Your Dog an Emotional Support Animal

Is there a DIY process for emotional support animal registration? You might search online for a printable free emotional support animal letter .pdf, but these fake registrations won’t hold up in certain situations.

For the registration to be authentic, you need to work through a licensed therapist who will complete an assessment to determine your qualification for having an ESA. If you qualify, you can consult together on the emotional support animal letter template to ensure you can use the animal in the way you need.

Check out a sample emotional support animal letter. You’ll see that it should be on professional letterhead and include the therapist’s signature as well as their contact information (address, phone number, and email address).  Taking the necessary steps to ensure it’s done correctly the first time will save you time in the long run.  

Accessories for Emotional Support Animal Registration

It’s smart to keep a copy of the registration certificate or the emotional support animal card with you at all times in case someone asks for verification. Also, plan ahead by researching what airlines allow emotional support animals or if there are any additional fees required for the animal’s ticket if you will be flying with your ESA.

Consider buying an emotional support animal vest or other identifying equipment. When other people see the dog or cat wearing an ESA vest, it reduces the questions people will ask about the animal being with you in public.   

Cadence Living Supports Residents with Emotional Support Animals and Pets

At Cadence Living, our goal is to ensure the comfort and support of every resident. We understand how much comfort it can bring to have an emotional support animal or pet by your side. Our focus on senior independent living means that you can customize your living situation based on your unique needs, including owning a pet.

Emotional support animals and pet visits can improve social engagement, increase physical activity, and boost a senior’s mood long after the visit is over.   Cadence Living incorporates different animals into the Furtissimo program and promotes the worthwhile interactions between pets and emotional support animals and our residents.

Here are a few stories to show how some of our residents benefit from having emotional support animal registration:

  • Margarethe Pennington lives at Tribute at Black Hill in Germantown, Maryland and has a bird named Pepi. Her bird helps her keep a positive outlook on life.
  • At Tribute One Loudoun in Ashburn, Virginia, the Reams family brings their dogs to visit their dad Jim Reams.  This has helped ease the transition of moving for Mr. Reams because his pets are able to visit on a regular basis.
  • Laura VonBehren from Tribute at Melford in Bowie, Maryland has a dog named Opie, which is a contributing factor to helping her still live in assisted living for seniors.

Our employees bring emotional support animals as well! Dominic Fabrizio (Community Relations Director) brings his dogs to work some days. The residents enjoy this time with his dog and look forward to the days that he visits them. 

If you are looking for an apartment rental for seniors, rest assured that we will welcome your pet with open arms! The animal is always welcome to join us at senior activities near me.

Cadence Living Supports All Family Members and Emotional Support Animal Registration

You don’t need to stress about how to get emotional support animal approval in our retirement community as pets are always welcome. Rest assured, knowing that Cadence Living makes it easy to keep your pet by your side. We invite you to learn about our services such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care, including assisted living, Cadence CONNECTIONS care, memory care, independent living, and more. Call today so you can schedule a tour of our modern retirement communities.