Updates from SCAS Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Ormerod.
Lord Richard Best invited me to make a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on “Housing and Care for Older People”. Those who attended last year’s SCAS conference will know that Lord Best works tirelessly to advance the housing sector, and has personal experience of large, supported living organisations with pet-inclusive policies. I spoke about the role of companion animals in the lives of older people, with some case studies. Other presentations were delivered by Housing 21and MHA (Methodist Homes, the largest charity providing supported living). There was also discussion about the role of robotic pets which can be very appropriate for people with advanced dementia.
The meeting was very positive and good contacts made, which we will follow up.
Older People and Housing Task Forces
There are currently two separate Task Forces collating evidence about how to improve housing for older people. One pertains to upgrading existing buildings, the other to new builds. SCAS will respond to both, and please let us have your thoughts about how pets could be better accommodated in supported living settings.
Vulnerable people, pets and housing
We continue to receive pleas for help from distraught vulnerable people threatened with eviction if they don’t “get rid” of their animal companions. Whilst we are able to give some support to those who contact us, we are only seeing the tip of a very large problem. Our AAI/Education Working Group to continue its work on these issues. We are very grateful for our members who contribute to our various Working Groups.
The Bob Harvey Award
We have been receiving praise and encouragement about this award made in honour of Bob Harvey, who refused to be bullied into relinquishing Darcie. Fortunately, Bob had a strong advocate in Tracie Streit, who then literally alerted the world to how Bob was being disgracefully bullied by his nursing home management. The award will raise awareness about the unacceptable choice so many vulnerable people are forced to make – your pet, or a roof over your head.