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Old People’s Homes Should Accept Pets — 12 Comments

  1. Serbella is SO right! All these problems can be solved – and easily, given the vast amounts of money these places so often charge! The 2-bit excuses they trump up for not allowing pets make fairy tales seem like sober logic in comparison! I feel the same about landlords in general who ban pets!

  2. All the so-called problems with pets in nursing homes could be easily solved if these institutions were genuinely interested in helping their clients. I’m convinced that unless they are getting big bucks they don’t care. They warehouse these poor souls as cheaply as they can, and if one dies, so what, there are plenty of warm bodies waiting in the wings.

  3. What a great idea! Then they don’t have to worry about what is causing all that Alzheimers. They can give Alzheimers to all their senior residents first-hand!

    “Toxoplasma gondii impairs memory in infected seniors”

    http : / / www . sciencedirect . com / science/article/pii/S0889159113005783

  4. This is a very interesting topic and kudos to Esther Rantzen for hilighting a problem which is little known or thought about by many.

    I support the idea of people moving into residential care being allowed to take their pets with them, but don’t know how easy that is to put into practise. As others have said, there is the question of who will be responsible for the day to day care of the animals or take them to the vet when required? I guess homes who happily accept pets perhaps charge extra if they have to provide pet care.

    Another consideration is the pet themselves. How will they adapt to the new surroundings and perhaps being around a lot more people than they may be used to. What if they don’t get on with other people’s pets in the home? Would they have to impose a limit on the number of pets they can accept?

    There’s no doubting that pets bring emotional comfort to all of us and it would be great if we can find a happy medium. We need to learn from the homes who do accept pets how they make it work.

    U.K. charity The Cinammon Trust help elderly people who need foster or long-term care for their pets when they have to go into hospital or a residential home. The owner is kept in touch with their pet through regular letters and photos. Where possible they will take the pet to visit their owner. Charities like need our support because we all understand how horrible it would be to have to surrender our pet.

    • You raises some useful points. I think care homes would need to be designed to accommodate pets. Rather than a hotel-like arrangements there should be some suites with a small garden and the staff should be trained to care for pets.

      • I like the idea of suites with a fenced in patio or garden area for pet owners. That would suit each animal’s need for their own piece of territory too.

  5. I am an animal lover and would be sad if I had to leave my pets. However, there are some important issues here that should be addressed. I am caring for a bird that belongs to a dear friend who is in a nursing home. She started out in the independent living and she was allowed to have her bird. Once she went to assisted she was no longer able to do the necessary things required to keep her bird. That’s when she called me. I visit her weekly and bring her bird for a couple of hours and this is the ideal situation for her. However, if you have spent any amount of time in assisted living or nursing homes you can readily see the staff is usually overwhelmed by normal day to day tasks and duties for the residents. Most facilities are under staffed to keep costs down, and requirements for pets is out of the question. Yes, cleanliness is part of the problem because pet hair and dander can be very bad for other residents who have compromised health issues. There is also the matter of litter box or walk the dog. Who is to do it if the resident is in a wheelchair or on a walker? Safety is a major concern. If someone walking down the hall with a small dog on a lead and someone with a walker passing missteps then you could have a broken hip. As much as I hate to say it, I don’t think pets should be allowed. Ideally, have a family member take the pet and do regular visits.

    • Unfortunately, you bring up some very valid points. Most elderly people in these homes aren’t getting very good care for reasons you mention. So, the additional care of pets isn’t realistic. The exception may be high end facilities where residents can pay for personal pet care. Now, I’m curious if there are any.

      An option is to have someone bring the pet to visit, but many times there is no one, and when that resident goes into a facility, the animal goes to a shelter, where they face euthanasia because of their age.

      It’s one of the reasons I hesitated to get a cat after I turned 68. I thought about what would happen to the cat if I died. I let go of that concern when I saved Mitzy from euthanasia. I don’t want to think about what might happen to her, if my death precedes hers. There is no one who could take her, and she would end up in the shelter.

      I have no resources to leave for someone to care for her.

  6. I completely agree with this, and also understand that it will create some issues with extra work for staff, if the guardian isn’t able to do things, like clean the cat box, or take the dog for a walk, or clean up floor pads.

    I’ve recently bought steps to put the cat box on because it’s getting too hard to kneel to scoop it out when it was on the floor.

    • I think old people’s homes should be rethought in the way they are run and designed in order that they can accommodate the pets of their clients. At the moment pets are completely ignored and are totally out of the equation. This is surprising because we all know that the presence of a companion animal is very beneficial to a person’s health and at a time when health is vital it seems very odd to throw away that opportunity.

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