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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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It would be a wonderful thing if AL centers allowed pets, but after placing my mom in a MC unit recently, I would have to agree that it would not be a good idea for each resident to have a pet unless it was a bird that could be caged all of the time. There is so much activity on the floor and the staff does not have the time to monitor pets and/or arguments over them. I wish that the MC unit that my mom is in, would allow the SPCA or other animal groups to come in once a week with a few cats and dogs to visit all the residents.
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Thanx for all replies.I have already spoken to staff and they are thinking of ways to solve the matter.my mam is in the best place for her needs.its a new dementia care bungalow and the staff are lovely so hopefully we can get things sorted.Kath
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Many of the residents at the ALF/Memory care facility where my mother lives have small dogs or cats. The Humane society visits every week with animals that would be good candidates as senior companion animals. There is a grooming room, and a visiting groomer that comes once a week to keep the animals clean. Some of the residents that are there for physical reasons, and they help take care of the other dogs, one belongs to the owners mother, and she is now blind, so another resident walks her yorkie for her several times a day. I have not heard of any incidents where residents were knocked down or fighting over the animals.

Personally I think pets are a good thing for everyone if they can be taken care of properly.
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Mom has me and a cat in her apartment. Once I left the cat with her in Assisted Living I had to stay also as she was not able to take care of Kitty. Almost three years later I am Mom's 24 x 7 caretaker and it is a wonderful arrangement. Kitty cuddles with Mom and also gives me hugs. Mom is going to be 100 years young this month. She is loved. My son stops over every day and when I have Dr.'s appointments ,choir practice and during services. It is worth it to see mom so happy and I thank God for this stage of life and for the pets that love us.
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My mom (at our home) adores my daughters dog.. so much so that we have it 1/2 the week! There was also a dog at my dad's MC. They offer unconditional love and company.. and both our dog and the one at MC seemed to know how to avoid tripping the residents. I do not know how to get your mom to stop thinking the dog is "hers" however.
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kath61: A few considerations--
#1 Is it possible for mom to get another room where she can't regularly see this other woman's dog?
#2 Never mind arguments; the dog is a trip hazard for any elder.
#3 You're wasting your breath when talking to an elder with dementia, e.g. they simply CANNOT retain what you've said.
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Veronica, I had thought that pets were becoming more regular residents of facilities. Some years ago we toured a Sunrise facility, with a resident cat and I believe a dog. They were so laid back they just wandered around, slept whenever they wanted to, but seemed to bring cheer to the residents who weren't beyond responding.

Also years ago I did some research on the Eden Alternative, toured a county facility that was trying to implement it, and saw caged birds, twittering away (with their vocal chords, not with fingers on tech devices). I don't recall if there were any 4 legged animals.

Even though the Eden concept was implemented well, the facility itself was dismal, so we passed on that.

A robotic pet seems like a great idea! Thanks for raising that issue; I've copied and saved the URL in case it might ever be appropriate for our situation.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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All good suggestions. Is there a way of seperating dog owner and Mom. Could they be in rooms well separated so they hardly see each other?
Same thing seems to happen with stuffed toys and there really does not seem to be an easy solution.
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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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I would discuss the issue with the facility. What is their policy? Is this Memory Care? Is this place able to provide the level of care that your mom needs based on her level of need? I'd explore if her severe memory loss and confusion could be managed adequately. You might also discuss with her doctor. Is she anxious or obsessive with other things?  I've never heard of pets in Memory Care facilities.  I would imagine, it's a risk due to the advanced level of the residents progression.  
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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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Have you talked to the staff about this conflict? What are their suggestions?
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