senior with cat

Many seniors have to give up their pets when they move into seniors' housing. (CBC)

Many P.E.I. seniors are being forced to give up their pets before they move into provincial housing, says independent MLA Olive Crane.

The province has more than 1,000 seniors' housing units, but only eight buildings across the Island are pet-friendly.

Because wait lists are so long, a senior with a pet can't wait for a unit in one of the pet-friendly buildings, said Crane.

"It's about their quality of life, right? And when you think of all the things that they're going to have to give up, and when you're looking at senior's housing, to give up a pet? And especially for people that don't have an extended family or family period, their pet is their family," said Crane.

Crane has asked government to create more rent subsidies to help seniors pay for private apartments.

That would reduce wait lists and let seniors look for a pet-friendly unit, she said.

Government is looking at allowing pets in more seniors' buildings, said Community Services Minister Valerie Docherty.

But Docherty said some seniors are allergic, while others are afraid of animals or don't want them around.