Tuesday, 19 January 2016
My mother lived in a centre for the elderly for the last almost twenty years of her life and attained the ripe old age of 94. She was very happy where she was and got the care she required towards the end, neither she nor we ever regretted her decision to move to the centre.
She did have one regret, though, she so much wanted a cat as a companion. When she moved into her flat in the centre, the then manager lived on the same floor and they had a cat that used to visit my mother almost daily (an exception was made for them, nobody else was allowed to keep an animal). I think that the day they, and the cat, moved out was one of the saddest days for my mother.
So much research has been done on this subject that I cannot understand the attitude of the management of care centres for the elderly in not allowing them a companion animal. Look at some of the research cited at the bottom of this blog.
Two studies, in particular, must be noted:
In the case of elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other dementia-related syndromes, the presence of pets, and particularly cats, could bring a potential benefit. This was underlined in a research "Cats in psychogeriatric nursing homes": a blessing for residents, caregivers and cats", Marie-José Enders-Slegers (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)
A nation-wide study led in France among retirement homes showed that the presence of an animal has a positive impact on residents. The most frequently mentioned qualities are affection (92 %), keeping guard (72 %), mobility (57 %). Ref : "Animals in Old Peoples' homes as a Symbol of Quality of Life" (Pascal Champvert, president ADEIIPA).
Obviously, in the Netherlands and France, it is permitted for the elderly to have companion animals – why do we still resist the notion?
As animal lovers, we all know the benefits – we must all remember that we will also become elderly and how will you feel if you are deprived of a cat or dog?
P.S. Having a companion animal is also beneficial to the younger ;-)
Some interesting reading:
The Pets for the Elderly Foundation - http://www.petsfortheelderly.org/index.html
Psychology Today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/iage/201305/pet-therapy-older-adults
Science Daily - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150623141736.htm