My mother is in a nursing home suffering from dementia. She rarely remembers my name anymore, but she ALWAYS remembers her cat, Mrs. Murphy. When I take M.M. to see mom, she smiles in delight... Mrs. Murphy is just as delighted, and curls up on mom's bed for the duration. I always hate to separate them again.
If I were to create a new model for elderly care, it would not involve more emphasis on keeping bodies alive. It would involve loving relationships between animals and people living together in harmony, as well as between all individuals living under the same roof. It would involve magnifying the beauty that is always present, the comfort of being together, the joy of sharing and communing. These are not the values stressed in corporately modeled nursing homes. Although they make a good show of 'caring' for the body and being 'nice', their aim is monetary, and the model is medical and pharmacological. It's all about the survival of the body (which brings in cash), not about quality of life. In other words, the doctors and investors (and the drug companies) make a lot of money, and the business provides a lot of low-end jobs without benefits to give the illusion of social responsibility. What is even worse, many of these obviously for-profit organizations accept donations under the guise of non-profit foundations.
What does this have to do with Life in Sanctuary? I have committed the Claire Foundation Animal Sanctuary to the very model that I would implement for elderly care for humans. It doesn't involve more emphasis on keeping bodies alive, although we take good care of the creatures here. It involves loving relationships between animals and people as well as between all animals living under the same roof. When there is conflict, as there sometimes is, it is always lovingly and compassionately resolved, with the aggressors reconciled and happy once again. Life in Sanctuary involves magnifying the beauty that is always present, the comfort of being together, and the joy of inter-species sharing and communing. It is about Life, not about survival. And when a creature passes on, it is from a life well-lived and well-loved.
So why not non-profit Sanctuaries for the elderly?