Pet Friendly Care Home and Retirement Housing Register

When owners can no longer manage in their existing homes and are looking for somewhere they can spend their retirement years with their beloved pet, our register details care homes and retirement housing in England, Scotland and Wales which will consider residents with pets.

What is a Pet Friendly Care Home?

The answer may seem to be very obvious, but in truth, pet friendly care homes (any residential facility for the elderly that accepts owners and their pets) vary hugely in how pet-friendly they are, from the ones who will consider contained animals such as fish or birds as long as the resident is able to look after them themselves, to the ones who will take on most any pet, and support the owner to care for them, because they understand the huge importance of the bond between them.

Who asks for listings from the register?

Our Pet Friendly Care Home register is in constant demand – not just from elderly pet owners and their families, but also from Social Services departments, NHS staff, and other healthcare professionals and civil servants.

On receipt of an enquiry, we will either post out a printed pack, with homes listed by county for whichever area/s the person requires, or we will send the same information by email. The listed homes can then be contacted directly to answer any questions, and arrangements made to visit, so it can be checked that the facilities offered are suitable – our wonderful volunteers will assist elderly pet owners in visiting prospective homes if required.

How do you know how pet-friendly a home is?

We visit each home on our register every two years, unless there has been no change in manager or in the home’s pet policy, in which case we do an update over the phone, and then visit the next time. Each entry on the register includes a descriptive write-up about the home or housing scheme, which is a summary of the information provided by the manager at this visit.

We ask many questions including what type of pets they will consider (e.g. all pets, small pets, cats, dogs, caged birds, fish, or any combination), we ask on what conditions pets are accepted – is this at the manager’s discretion, or provided that owners can care for their pets themselves? We also find out if the gardens or grounds are available for pets to use, and if so, whether there is a secure area where a dog could run off-lead.

General information about the home is also recorded to enable people to decide which care home might best suit their needs and preferences – for example, the number of people who live there, whether the home is a small, independent home or a member of a larger group, whether short-stay care is provided as well as long-stay and what type of care the home offers, for example, residential care, nursing care, dementia care, etc. For the retirement housing, we ask what hours the estate or scheme manager is onsite, what facilities are available, and whether there is an extra care provision with an onsite care team.

What support can you offer managers and their residents?

The Cinnamon Trust will support residents of care homes or housing schemes with tasks such as  dog walking, transporting pets to the vets, or short-term fostering if a resident is unable to care for their pet temporarily while they are in hospital or respite care.

The Trust also offers a pet profiling service where anyone, of any age, can register their pets with us, and if their pets were to outlive them, we would take care of them – becoming their legal guardians and either providing a long-term foster home where we pay all authorised vets bills for the life of the animal, or caring for them in one of our sanctuaries, where pets are looked after 24hrs a day in a home-from-home environment with sofas, armchairs and rugs to snuggle up on, and a routine that mimics that of an average household. This service provides peace of mind for pet owners that their pets will be well looked after, but it also provides reassurance for home and retirement estate managers, as they don’t have to worry about what will happen to a pet if their owner passes away.

We are always happy to assist homes in becoming pet-friendly or to help them to be more pet-friendly – many of the homes on our Register already have pet policies in place to ensure the best is done for the pets in their care, but if needed we can offer support and guidance on the creation of pet policies, to help ensure both residents and their pets are safe and supported.

Does it cost anything to be listed on the register?

A listing on the Pet Friendly Care Home and Retirement Housing Register is completely free of charge – we are simply here to support homes and retirement complexes in their choice of being pet friendly, by providing help and guidance, free advertising, and help with pet care; we benefit because the home being listed potentially helps us in our mission to keep owners and pets together.

Why should retirement accommodation be pet-friendly?

Every year, thousands of animals and elderly people find themselves saying a heart-breaking farewell, with the animals often headed to animal rescue centres to await re-homing (or, in many cases, euthanasia), causing misery and suffering to both owner and pet. This is completely unnecessary – we want to make it unheard of!

The benefits of an older person having their pet with them are many:

  • It is someone to love, talk to and fuss over – someone who needs them
  • Pets help to lessen the feeling of isolation and loneliness
  • Pets often provide links with the past, e.g. a deceased spouse
  • They are a reason to keep to a daily routine and regular meals
  • Pets are a form of reassurance and alleviate stress
  • Taking the dog out ensures daily exercise and often facilitates meeting people to chat to
  • Pets are a conversational topic and can help to break the ice when meeting new people
  • Pets are treasured friends to help with the experience of new beginnings

Managers of care homes have told us that residents with dementia can often remember their pet long after memories of family fade, and memories of past pets can be recalled when a pet arrives to live within the home. Many managers state that they see characteristics of the resident that have not been apparent before when they interact with animals.

How does a home or retirement complex join the Register?

If you would like to include your home or retirement complex on our Register, all you need to do is complete and return the simple registration form and we’ll be delighted to include you! Please contact Donna on 01736 757900, or by email at donnatucker@cinnamon.org.uk for a form or for more information.

Every two years, the very best of the homes and retirement housing on our register are put forward for recognition in our Pet Friendly Care Home Awards.