We had a lady who needed to move to a retirement residence as her life was falling apart. Her only son was dying, her husband had advanced Alzheimers, she had inoperable cancer, her home was FULL and in need of tlc. So many things seemed beyond her control but she had two cats that she loved and was determined that both cats would move with her. Searching for a retirement residence that would take two cats was more of a challenge then than it is now but we found a small, homey, caring residence that made the needed commitment.
Pets can be an enormous part of many seniors’ lives. They can actually give their owner company and the motivation to live. The senior has to look after them, make sure they are fed properly, that they get medical attention when needed, they have a place to “relieve” themselves that works for both the senior and the pet. Some pets even need baths and grooming.
We had a lady moving from Ottawa, Canada to the Los Angeles area and she lamented that she was going to miss her 13 year old dog. Our driver took the dog to the Toronto airport so it could have a direct flight to L.A. A family member met the flight and informed us that the “best friend” had arrived safely.
We have actually moved many seniors with cats. Somehow when we arrive at the home for our initial consultation the cats often sense that “something is up.” Many times they have hidden when the workers are there. When the movers come we make sure the cat is in a safe secure area. The cats are always moved carefully in appropriate cat carriers.
We moved a lady with a bird several times. The first time was on a very cold winter’s day. We had the van in the heated garage and carried the bird in her cage covered with a heavy blanket. The sun was shining as we drove by the river so we took the blanket off the top of the cage. Peddie began singing and sang the whole way to the new residence.
Many retirement residences permit dogs on the ground floor as long as certain requirements are met. The senior needs to sign papers that they will pay for any damage their pet causes. The senior either needs to be able to look after their pet or have someone who will. Some residences will provide this service for a fee if the senior needs the assistance. Private companies also have various options to help with caring for a pet. There is usually a signed agreement that the pet will not “bother” other residents by either barking excessively or being aggressive with the staff or the elders.
We have had excellent experiences moving seniors with their pets.
Unfortunately some pets are too old and often incontinent and unable to move. This becomes a very delicate situation. A move is hard on a senior and the stress of giving up a pet adds to that stress. Some children will take the older pet, diapers and all, and bring the pet for visits. At times a senior or family member unfortunately needs to make the decision that the beloved pet can no longer be cared for. A very stressful and emotional time for all!