[Wanqingyi Care]Elderly people live in nursing homes with their pets…

[Wanqingyi Care]Elderly people live in nursing homes with their pets…


By Wen Huiyan and Lin Liting

Have you ever imagined living in a nursing home with your pet and growing old together?

A special nursing home in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan has broken the “taboo” by housing more than 10 “rare guests” – 8 dogs and 9 cats, to accompany the frail elders in the home.

Bring joy——The puppy Chester went to a nursing home for the elderly to volunteer, and the elderly took the initiative to touch and hold him tightly.

(Hong Kong News) Can Hong Kong’s residential care homes for the elderly break the restrictions and allow the elderly to live with their “wives” until they grow old?

The person in charge of this “extraordinary nursing home”, Wakayama Sanchihiko, said that when he was planning the home, he heard a story about an old uncle from his colleagues: The old uncle had no relatives and had always been dependent on the puppy. However, due to his old age, his health His function declined and he finally decided to move into a residential care home.

However, the nursing home does not allow pets, so the old uncle was forced to send the puppy to an animal health center (an animal shelter). The old uncle had always been brooding, believing that he had harmed his “wife”. He lost his will to live due to excessive grief, and passed away less than half a year after being admitted to the hospital.

Make residents happy and accompany the dying elderly

According to Japan’s nursing care system, single elderly people who qualify for special care homes must give up their pets. Wakayama Sanchihiko was shocked by the old uncle’s experience and believed that the system was inadequate. He inspired his team to think about the definition of old age and decided to bring pets into nursing homes.

This special nursing home has 4 floors, one of which is specially designed for seniors with pets, and is divided into units for dogs and cats. Among them, the 10-year-old dog Bunpuku is the friendly ambassador of the hospital. In addition to accompanying the elderly residents, it seems to be able to feel the approach of death.

On weekdays, Wenfu always makes the residents happy and even fights for seats; but when encountering an elderly person in the dying stage, Wenfu will patiently wait outside the door, or jump onto the elderly person’s bed, curl up and cling to him. Holding the elderly who are breathing weakly, licking their faces, as if to cheer them up, accompanying them through the last few hours of their lives until the final farewell ceremony.

Seeing Wenfu taking the initiative to walk to the deceased elder, the family members of the elderly couldn’t help crying and said “arigato” to Wenfu! Thanks to its company, the caregiver can find comfort in grief.

Friendly Ambassador——Ruoshan Sanqianyan brought pets into the nursing home, and the dog Wenfu became the “friendly ambassador” of the nursing home.

Examine cats and dogs to become “animal doctors”

In Hong Kong, although cats and dogs cannot be kept in institutions, some voluntary groups have initiated training of dogs and cats to become “animal doctors” and serve as volunteers in institutions and different organizations. To become an “animal doctor”, a pet owner can first register it with an organization, and then the animal must undergo assessments, including physical and mental health assessments, temperament tests, and control ability assessments. After passing the assessment, the animal can officially become an “animal doctor” after six additional internship visits.

My puppy, Chester, is also trying to take the exam to become an “animal doctor” this year. The reason is that I brought Chester into the institution to participate in a movie activity for the elderly, and the effect was unexpectedly good; many elderly people would take the initiative to touch and hold Chester. Tighten it or pinch its long ears.

Some elders shared their past experiences of raising pets and said that, like the old Japanese uncle mentioned above, they had to be separated from their pets because they were admitted to a hospital. In fact, the Japanese example tells us that the elderly also need life partners after moving into residential homes. Animals and people have a very special connection and trust. Even when they are dying, humans may not be able to express their thoughts in words. , but the animals will touch them with their bodies or lick their faces to nourish the souls of the elders. This is indeed a very unique connection.

Take care of your spouse and cultivate your independence in the end

I couldn’t help but wonder, why do the elderly have to give up their original lives when they enter a residential care home? Pets may become the guardians of late-stage care. If the elderly themselves have pets, can they also be allowed to continue living in residential care homes? Bringing pets to a nursing home not only helps the elderly adapt to the new environment, but it is also believed that the elderly will look forward to taking care of their “wife” until the end. This is also a way to cultivate the independence of the elderly.

If every residential home allows pet cats and dogs to accompany their owners, it will actually be a good arrangement for the residential home, the elderly and the pets. We need to rethink the person-centered model of care and break down the old constraints.

Life partner——Even if the elderly move into an institution, they still need life partners, and animals and people have a special connection and trust.

Be pet friendly Australia accounts for less than 20%

Generally speaking, elderly people who need to live in elderly care facilities must be forced to leave their pets. However, Australian researchers say that being able to bring pets into the facility is beneficial to the elderly, such as reducing anxiety and loneliness. sense and keeps them active.

However, according to current statistics, only 18% of Australian nursing homes allow pets to stay together. Experts call on the Australian authorities to provide funds for these long-term care facilities to improve the mental health and well-being of the elderly.

Leaving pets behind is a difficult decision

With his hands open, 6-year-old Molly immediately jumped on the sofa and nestled with his owner; after 89-year-old Barryton lost his beloved wife this year, the companionship of dogs became particularly important. They moved in together two years ago This retirement center is located in Sydney.

Barrie Britton, a nursing home resident: “Dogs will always love you, whether you blame them or not, they still love you, and I wouldn’t want to be here without them or other forms of companionship. “

This community combines retirement living with elderly care, and it also allows residents to bring pets. It has a spacious courtyard where you can bring your furry children to stretch their muscles and get some air. In addition, cats are allowed to stay for a long time for residents to touch and talk to, so as to obtain psychological support.

Greg Murphy, manager of the nursing home: “You don’t want to leave your pet behind. When you find a place with fewer stairs, you don’t want that to be a hindrance to moving in. Maybe that’s just the care and support you need.” .”

Only 18% of care homes welcome

For many elderly people, entering a nursing home is not an easy decision in itself, and leaving their beloved pets behind is an even more difficult decision.

Janette Young, an allied health and human performance researcher at the University of South Australia, said: “It’s not just increasing sadness and loss, it’s also taking away resources that might actually help them.”

However, such cases are still in the minority. According to statistics, nearly 70% (69%) of households across Australia have pets, but only 18% of nursing homes welcome them.

Yang En, an allied health and human performance researcher at the University of South Australia: “It’s a difficult thing, it’s hard to solve, but it’s possible and it’s important, so I do think it should be mandatory. .”

Experts believe that pet-friendly nursing homes can help alleviate residents’ loneliness and reduce stress, anxiety and depression; they call on the Australian government to provide funds to improve the mental health and well-being of residents.

Young noted that it’s about being able to identify risks and how to mitigate them. Nursing homes have already taken care of most aspects of hygiene, infection control, etc. What now needs to be worked out is how to ensure that animals can also receive good care. “

Kathy, a 73-year-old resident, and her husband are also residents here. She firmly believes that the company of the dog Muffin will not only make them healthier and happier, but will also be beneficial to other residents. “It brings joy to everyone, even people who are in wheelchairs or use walkers, they put it on their legs, on their walkers.”


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