When an animal shelter located in Tucson, Arizona, had kittens to care for and not enough staff, it made the unconventional decision to collaborate with an elderly care facility. I Heart Cats relays that Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) and the Catalina Springs Memory Care (“Catalina Springs”) partnered so that senior residents who desire (and require) more interaction and stimulus could care for the tiny, furry creatures.
Says Sharon Mercer, Executive Director of Catalina Springs,
“To some, it may seem peculiar at first: Residents who are in need of around-the-clock care themselves, given the task to care for these young kittens. But there are skills, emotions, and needs that do not just leave a person with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. The desire to give love and receive love remains.”
The program was envisioned and realized by Catalina Springs Health Service Director Rebecca Hamilton, RN. Reportedly, Hamilton is responsible for attending to the elders as well as fostering felines. From personal experience, she knows how much joy can result from caring for animals in need.
Fortunately, the program was deemed to be a success! Both the elderly individuals and the kittens improved from the interaction. The kittens doubled in weight, and the elders reported increased levels of happiness. Said Mercer:
“The kittens have given us the opportunity to nurture this human condition that lies in each and every one of our residents.”
As was proven by the exchange, a collaboration between an elderly care facility and an animal shelter can benefit all involved. Following are some heart-warming photos of the program in action:
True Activist originally created and published this article (This Is What Happens When An Animal Shelter Partners With An Elderly Care Facility…). It is re-posted here with permission.