‘They’ve probably had those animals for years – they are like family’: accommodating pets in care homes and their contribution to creating a sense of ‘home’



Fox, Marie ORCID: 0000-0001-7497-2070, Toze, Michael and Ray, Mo
(2023) ‘They’ve probably had those animals for years – they are like family’: accommodating pets in care homes and their contribution to creating a sense of ‘home’. Ageing and Society. pp. 1-19.

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Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Companion animals, or ‘pets’, are integral to many people's lives and to their sense of home. However, older people living with companion animals are vulnerable to separation from their animals when moving to a care home. Such separation is often a highly significant loss which, combined with other losses, may reinforce experiences of dislocation. Existing research draws attention to the importance of developing a sense of ‘home’ in a care home through reinforcing and preserving personal connections. However, there is a paucity of research examining the preservation of connections between older people resident in care homes and their animal/s. This study draws on thematic analysis of 29 qualitative interviews with older people living in care homes, relatives, care home staff and other relevant stakeholders. It highlights that retaining existing, often long-term, bonds with companion animals represent important continuities and connections which may contribute to positive adjustment to life in a care home and creating a sense of home. However, participants highlighted that supporting an older person to move into a care home with their companion animal may be challenged by real or perceived constraints such as use of shared space, concerns about the risks posed by animals and staff implications. While our study found examples of good practice of how shared residence between an older person and companion animal can be achieved in a care home, other examples highlighted that the time, complexity of planning and structures required to accommodate animals were prohibitive to merit a change of policy and practice. Our research concludes that more attention should be given to the older person–animal bond as an important source of continuity and connection.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law and Social Justice
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2023 07:44
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 08:37
DOI: 10.1017/s0144686x23000417
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3170771