- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Pets welcomed as vital to elderly residents’ well-being
Shirlee and Nathan “Nick” Horowitz faced one serious health crisis after another before their doctor said they had to move into an assisted-living center. They had only one condition — they weren’t going anywhere without their dog.
Hundreds of retirement communities across the country now allow seniors to live with their pets and more and more facilities keep house pets that provide the benefits without the responsibility.
As many as 40 percent of people ask about pets when calling A Place for Mom, the nation’s largest senior-living referral service, said Tami Cumings, its senior vice president.
When the service was founded 12 years ago, pets seldom were considered when it came time for older people to enter rest homes or skilled nursing homes, Ms. Cumings said.
Then came the boom in independent living centers, assisted living complexes and memory centers for Alzheimer’s patients. At the same time, some people have latched on to studies that show pets can help their owners’ health physically and psychologically, said Lori Kogan, a professor of veterinary medicine at Colorado State University.
Mrs. Horowitz and her husband chose the Regency Grand in West Covina, Calif., about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. Meals are provided, as is housekeeping and transportation. Medication management and help with dressing and bathing can be arranged. But most of all, their collie, Barney, was welcome.
“I worried more about him because he had a big yard before,” said Mrs. Horowitz, 77. “But he has adjusted to this better than we have.”
Barney’s friendliness has made it easier for the couple to meet their neighbors, and his walks have helped them get to know the complex.
Living centers usually prefer smaller pets and put the limit at two. Not all pets are dogs and cats either, Ms. Cumings said. They get a lot of calls about birds and fish.
As many as 30 percent of the residents at the Regency Grand have pets at any one time, said Leah Hynes, Regency Grand’s marketing associate. Seldom do the elderly move in with puppies or kittens, she said. Most of the time, their animals are older, too.
One of the residents lost her husband of many decades. She wanted a pet so Ms. Hynes helped her choose a cat. They named it Annie and had the cat spayed, vaccinated and microchipped.
“It was like bringing a new baby home. She had the apartment set up and couldn’t wait to have the companionship and someone to care for again,” she said.
Residents who don’t have pets of their own are encouraged to share Alley, the office cat. At the center’s memory care center, a dog, a cat and two bunnies live with a couple of parakeets and a lot of fish.
Pet-friendly living centers are still in the minority, so people who don’t like animals easily can find centers that say “no pets allowed.”
But some living centers are cultivating small menageries.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- 'Blarney Blowout' near UMass results in 73 arrests; 4 officers injured
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again