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New good cause? Care for pets of Alzheimer patients

Door: Jolanda Boekhout | 3 april 2012 | Reacties (1) >

Like I have written before it seems that things I write about enter my path from different angles. This week I know for sure it happens that way.

A week ago I read a friends blogpost, Leigh Love, who I have met through Tracey Clark’s Picture Series classes. In her post Leigh draws attention to the beautiful bracelet made by Becky Sue Laflam, a talented photographer and jewelmaker. Becky Sue’s, mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer and with the bracelet she is raising money to support the Alzheimer Association.

It was without question that I would order one of Becky Sue’s bracelets to support her cause. Why? Alzheimer is common in my family. My grandmother had Alzheimer (or dementia) and recently I discovered that another member of my family is under suspicion of Alzheimer. That I’ll get Alzheimer at a later age isn’t unthinkable. Right now there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer, so research is very much needed.

“Alzheimer patients are much calmer when a pet is around”

I asked Becky Sue whether she would like to write a post for my blog about her mother and her cat Abigail. Abigail is 16 years old and Becky Sue worries about the situation. What will happen when Abigail passes away? Abigail is very important in the life of Becky Sue’s mother. It slipped into my mind what would happen to Abigail when the time comes that Becky Sue’s mom can’t live at home anymore. How heartbreaking it would be to say goodbye to her beloved friend.

Unfortunately pets aren’t welcome in nursing homes. In the US it is very common to put such an animal to sleep. Unbelievable, because the presence of pets is very healthy for older people. Alzheimer patients are much calmer when a pet is around.

Last week I had a photo shoot with a young Labrador.  His owner told me that he’ll be working as an assistance dog at a health resort soon despite his young age. More and more dogs and cats are used for ‘cuddle therapy’ in nursing homes.

When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense. Elderly people are forced to leave their pets behind when they move into nursing homes. On the one hand I can image that it is too much work for the nursing homes’ staff to take care for pets of patients. On the other hand a much healthier environment is created, both mental as physical, when elderly people are able to keep their pets with them.

And of course it is heartbreaking for elderly people to be forced to say goodbye to their beloved friends. I myself can’t stand the thought of leaving my cats behind when I need to move in case of sickness.

To make a long story short, if that it still possible. Taking all this into consideration it made me think about doing something for pets of Alzheimer patients.

In The Netherlands pets can, with a donation for food and shelter, be handed in to animal shelters. There they can wait patiently for a new home. It still happens however that pets end up on the street.

Is there a way to prevent the putting to sleep of pets? Can I raise money for supporting the shelter of Alzheimer patient’s pets? Is there a need for this idea? And if so how do I start something like this? By creating a fund to make handing pets over to shelters possible? Or would raising money to make use of ‘cuddle’ dogs and cats possible?

So much questions! I have still not finished thinking. If anyone has got an idea to bring me further in this idea please feel free to join in.

When you also feel that Alzheimer research is important, please feel free to order one of Becky Sue’s handmade bracelets. You can do that here. It is beautiful and so is the cause.

Becky Sue is working on a story about Abigail and her mother.  To be continued!


Eén reactie op “New good cause? Care for pets of Alzheimer patients”

  1. Alison schreef:

    Well said – and I’ll look forward to the story about Becky’s mom and Abigail! Thanks for this, Jolanda.

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