Are dogs allowed in retirement homes?

There are almost 80 million dogs as pets in the United States, and nearly two-thirds of Americans have at least one pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

And with 80 million domestic dogs in the United States, a growing number of them are also in assisted living communities across the country, as reported recently by the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

One of the reasons for the increasing presence of dogs in senior living communities is the growing recognition that when seniors look for housing options, they want a lifestyle that makes them comfortable and happy in all areas of life.

"Many times we talk to families that have had a loss of a spouse, and they say, 'I can't take the dog away,’” senior living expert Tami Cumings told the newspaper.

And animals aren’t just about increasing happiness and fighting, depression, either. The Chronicle reports that a 2002 study found fish tanks inside Alzheimer’s Care units boosted the eating habits of Alzheimer’s patients, resulting in weight gain.

When it comes to finding that perfect senior living community for yourself or a parent, making sure that it makes you and them feel at home is centrally important.