My mom moved to an assisted-living facility three months ago because she has dementia and needs daily care. When we were looking for a place for her, it was imperative that I find a place that would allow her to keep her Yorkshire Terrier, Duchess. We were lucky enough to have the choice of several facilities that allowed pets, and the one we chose allowed her to move in with both Duchess and her pet cat.
The transition has been somewhat difficult for mom, but having her pets with her made all the difference in the world. They give her a purpose every day. They provide her with continuity. And they foster conversation with other residents and their families so mom has social interaction.
In other parts of the country, senior facilities do not allow residents to take pets. This policy is abominable. It rips apart families. In a time when shelters are overflowing with animals due to families in financial crises, it creates a situation where more beloved pets are relinquished to shelters.
We should all join together and campaign for more acceptance of pets in senior-living facilities. Meet with the administration and tell them about the success of programs at places like the one in Southern California where my mom lives. Show them medical articles that tout the benefits of continuing to live with pets. Share the evidence that therapy animal visits help with the healing process.
Yes, it is a little more work for the facility and the family to have seniors keep their pets. But I am very willing to buy pet food, arrange grooming and veterinary care and help with cleanup so mom can keep her beloved pets. Please join me in these efforts and our parents and their pets will live longer, happier lives.