Creative Design Ideas for Pet-Friendly Older Adult Communities

From dogs and cats to chickens and even therapy goats, animals have become part of the fabric of older adult communities around the United States, for the important role they can play in improving the well-being of the people who live in those communities.

Scientific research shows that interacting with animals does in fact provide people with a variety of physical and emotional benefits. So how to design an older adult community to maximize the quality of the pets-and-people dynamic, while minimizing the burden on the staff who work at those communities? OZ Principal Jami Mohlenkamp answers that question in an article he wrote for the January 2020 issue of CREJ Health Care Properties Quarterly.

Designing a pet-friendly aging adult community needn’t require a major capital outlay or a lot of extra staff labor, he writes. But it does require attention to issues such as safety, hygiene/cleanliness, ease of maintenance and accessibility. In his article, Mohlenkamp, who heads the senior living practice within OZ Architecture, describes a range of design possibilities for communities to explore with both indoor and outdoor spaces, including approaches and elements OZ has incorporated in the senior living projects it has designed. [Here it’s worth noting that OZ Architecture’s offices are pet-friendly, with at least a dozen animals (and often more) “working” with their human companions on a given day.]

Access the full CREJ article here.