Is it a good thing to have pets in a care facility? - AgingCare.com

Is it a good thing to have pets in a care facility?

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My mom has moved into a care facility and one of the residents has brought her dog with her, however my mom keeps thinking the dog is hers and it's causing so much turmoil between the owner of the dog and my mom. They keep getting angry with each other. My mom hates this lady now and I don't know how to solve it. I've explained over and over to my mom but with the dementia she forgets everything I've said within minutes and the whole thing starts again. I don't know what to do for the best.

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Well for a start stop "explaining" to your mother, because you're wasting your breath and your blood pressure.

Is your mother trying to keep the dog in her room? Are the two ladies pulling on the poor little thing like a Christmas cracker? If not , and your mother is just asserting that the dog belongs to her but without actually doing anything at all, you could try saying things along the lines of "isn't that nice, and doggie is such good company for everyone." Not contradicting her might dampen down the conflict.
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Where I went to rehab there were two dogs nd about four cats. All were kept inside and had complete freedom to visit whomever they chose. There were also birds in the front hall. Not that I paid much attention to them as I am not a great lover of indoor birds. I prefer the wild kind. One of the dogs regularly visited my room because my room mate's husband always had treats for him. Both dogs were quite elderly so I guess they also needed nursing home care.
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Can you get your Mother a stuffed doggy to hold?
Call up pet therapy to bring in visiting dogs.
Keep the two of them separate, and realize this is an adjustment, not entirely all your Mother's fault, I am hazarding a guess here.

And, in agreement with Jeanne, check with the staff.  Be sure to ask if this pet owner has had similar issues in the past.
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Maybe they could have a community dog that all the patients could spend time with. Or, you could get a dog for your mom. Animals are very comforting for old sick people.
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Countrymouse,
Christmas Cracker.

You have done it again, lightened up, brightened up a difficult situation!

Maybe when they give me a turn at the dog, I will name it Christmas Cracker.
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I'm surprised this is even allowed, but then maybe it's time for mom to be placed elsewhere. Where my mom is (not all Alzheimer's but certainly quite a few with dementia), there's a community dog owned by the activities director. The dog is on a leash and goes where she goes all day. There's also a bird kiosk thing for all to enjoy. I worked for a very short period of time where a cat was allowed to come and go. Things can get chaotic enough in these places very quickly without added aggravation between residents. Some residents actually fight over two dolls where my mom is, and that's bad enough.
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I think allowing pets in an AL or NH can be very problematic. Staff has little enough time to look after the people let alone pets - who is supposed to walk the dog, change the littler or clean up accidents? - and often allergies among both residents and staff can cause issues. Not all animals are suited for facilities either, especially an older one that may be territorial or frightened by all the people.
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Do you think they would agree to share the dog, i.e., let the dog visit your mother an hour or so a day, and explain that the other woman loves the dog so much that it would be kind of your mother to share it with her (and perhaps other residents?)
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When my mom was on the community floor of the nursing home, another resident had a sweet dog and we all mourned when it passed. Then he got another one. Although not advertised as such or certified, his dogs were a comfort to him. He had no obvious physical handicaps and I never asked but I believe his affliction was mental. The lady's dog may be a great comfort to to her. But, it did contribute to my mother's thinking she lived in an apartment. She often said "the dog barked all night" when I knew it didn't. The dog went to the vet regularly and was cleared to stay at the nursing home.

With my mother, who loved to stir things up, it was dolls that her roommate carried constantly like babies. The staff and I constantly kept an eye on Mom because she'd take this woman's dolls and hide them. I played into Mom's dementia. She thought she was a famous stage actress. I asked her once who would babysit the baby when she was "onstage" or "on the road". Incredibly, this made sense to her. I'm not proud of doing it, but since my mother could become physical, it may have saved thus woman a black eye.

I would not recommend "sharing" the dog. Dogs can be unpredictable and it could be disasterous for the owner if the dog would nip your mom. I suspect it was dislike at first sight with your mom and this lady and the dog is just part of it. NH staffs are used to handling disputes. I would stop explaining things to Mom and let them handle it. That's better for your blood pressure.
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Hi Kath61. Maybe this will help a bit: robotshop/en/hasbro-golden-pup-interactive-robot-toy-dog.html. I know it's a little pricey, but it's wonderful. My daughters got the cat version for my Mom who has dementia, and she takes it everywhere. She loves it and thinks its real. She kisses it and strokes it and tells it how cute it is, and sometimes when it's particularly "talkative", she tells it to be quiet.

These "pets" are enough like the real thing that it may just make your mom feel like she has her own dog without causing you to worry about cleaning up after one.

The dog version is new, so I can't speak to what it does, but the kitty version meows when you touch it, it purrs, it lifts its paw as if to clean itself then rolls onto its back to have its tummy pet, and its eyes open and close. When my Mom first brought hers into the nursing home, the staff and residents thought that it was a real cat. They're very cute, and my Mom found it very comforting. Hope this helps some. It's so difficult to see our loved ones like this. Hugs to you and God bless.
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