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Pets are closer than family for locked-down dementia patients (Jane Murphy, Providence Living, PHC)

Resident Sally Gardner with Bunny, an assistance dog. Animals are proving to be welcome in-house companions at a dementia care facility in Comox. (Photo credit: The B.C. Catholic)

Furry friends are stepping in where visitors cannot tread.

The Views, a dementia care facility in Comox, is home to about 170 residents needing long-term or hospice care, plus one dog, three cats, four birds, and countless fish. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the residence to limit families and guests to physically-distant “window visits,” these animals proved to be welcome in-house companions.

“Pets have added a lot of comfort to combat loneliness among residents. They are also a lovely distraction if they are feeling anxious or depressed,” said Jane Murphy, president and CEO of Providence Living.

Providence Living is a faith-based, non-profit health-care organization established by Providence Health Care. It operates The Views at St. Joseph’s Hospital, a site which will eventually be transformed into a dementia village, following the lead of an innovative Dutch care model that is less residence and more community, with easy access to the outdoors and onsite amenities like a grocery store and pub.

Click here for the full story on The B.C. Catholic news.

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