Dogs and cats welcome in nursing homes? It’s yes, for the government

Dogs and cats welcome in nursing homes?  It's yes, for the government

Dog, cat, goldfish or canary: moving into a nursing home with your pet can smooth the transition for elderly people forced to leave their home. Establishments are now free to accept or not, but the government wants to make it a right for seniors.

Entering a nursing home is often described as a “break” for elderly people, who see their habits and benchmarks disrupted.

An intolerable abandonment

Add to this the forced abandonment of an animal is intolerable“, LR MP Philippe Juvin recently told AFP. A source of comfort for the elderly person, the four-legged companion can also be a point of reference in their new environment, which would facilitate the transition.

Philippe Juvin therefore wishes to have the right of elderly people to move into an establishment with their pet included in the proposed “Aging Well” law.

Approved by the deputies, his amendment was however rejected by the senators who prefer to leave the choice to the establishments, as is currently the case. The text will now be discussed by parliamentarians in a small committee on March 12, during a joint committee (CMP).

The government came out of the woodwork supporting this proposal: “I am in favor (…) of opening up the possibility in the law of welcoming pets into nursing homes“, indicated Friday on X (ex-Twitter) the Minister of Labor, Health and Solidarity, Catherine Vautrin. She invited elected officials “to take up this societal issue with a view to further humanizing our nursing homes“.

According to a recent Ifop survey for the 30 million friends foundation, 86% of French people are in favor of welcoming pets into nursing homes.

A framework must be specified

Having to separate from your animal when entering a retirement home”is heartbreaking“, recognized on France 2, the Minister Delegate for the Elderly, Fadila Khattabi. She also supports this right, which would be a “very good step forward”.

However, “we will have to be realistic”, we will not be able to provide “an animal like a boa“, she warned. They are more like “dogs, cats, goldfish, the little canary” who will be welcome in the 7,500 nursing homes, public, private or associative.

The organizations representing the establishments are also in favor.

This would mark “a significant step forward in improving the quality of life of the elderly“, Jean-Christophe Amarantinis, president of Synerpa, the main union of private nursing homes, told AFP. He admits “the benefits of animals on the well-being of residents“but insists on the importance of”frame this practice in the internal regulations of establishments for health and cohabitation reasons“.

In Paris, a working group bringing together nursing home directors from the public and private sectors is working on a charter to define the conditions for welcoming new residents with their animals. Residents could be asked to plan, for example, who could help them take care of the animal on a daily basis, if necessary, or take over in the event of hospitalization.

If parliamentarians approve the entry of animals into nursing homes, “I will make sure that it is implemented very quickly“, assured Fadila Khattabi. Or, normally, in the spring.

The practical arrangements could be defined by decree, after consultation with players in the sector, according to a source close to the matter.