Fostering graceful aging with pets through in-home care

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Home care package provider Coastal Home Care’s CEO Kylie Magrath has been working in Aged Care for more than seven years, witnessing firsthand the profound impact of in-home care on older individuals.

Photo Credit: iStock

Home care package provider Coastal Home Care’s CEO Kylie Magrath has been working in Aged Care for more than seven years, witnessing firsthand the profound impact of in-home care on older individuals.

Ms Magrath is also Managing Director of two other government-approved in-home aged care providers, Hazel Home Care, and Dulcie Home Care, and finds one aspect that stands out is the significance of maintaining companionship with pets, which often becomes increasingly vital as people get older.

“Loneliness is one of the biggest issues in older Australians and pets become the friend/partner/companion that gives them purpose and brings joy to their lives,” she says.

Often Aged Care Homes don’t allow pets and so the beautiful thing about Home Care Packages is that the funding allows them to stay at home where they can enjoy the company of their pets.

“Older people want to remain at home in familiar surroundings with their personal belongings that have memories and history, where they can happily keep their pets and where neighbours and local community are close at hand, and in-home care allows them to do this,” she says.

Home Care Packages are a generous government subsidy that allow older Australians to access up to $60K per year to use on services and supports that allow them to remain safely and happily at home. The funding can be used for cleaning, gardening, social activities, personal care, helping to take your dog for a walk and much more, she adds.

Hazel Home Care is a fully managed Home Care provider, which means that the Care Manager arranges all the supports and services and most of the workers who service the customer will be employed by Hazel Home Care.  It services Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

“It is a high touch model where the Care Manager checks in with their clients every two weeks,” says Magrath.

Dulcie Home Care, on the other hand, is a Self-Managed Home Care Provider that is available to clients anywhere in Australia.

“Many customers want more control over their Home Care Package funding and self-managing allows them to select the workers, choose when they come and also negotiate the rate that is paid,” she says.

“The client still has a dedicated person to support them called a Support Partner, but all communication is via phone and all the coordination of services is done by the client.”

Positive outcomes in providing pet care services

Pet care services are also offered by Dulcie and Hazel, assisting clients with tasks such as accompanied walking of their pet, transporting them and their pet to the vet, cleaning that may be required due to pet ownership (ie pet hair).

“More than 50 percent of our clients have pets. As long as they can safely care for the pet, we would support them in any way we can!” says Magrath.

There are many positive outcomes in providing pet care services for older people.

Magrath says, "One of our customers has raised over 20 guide dogs over her lifetime and is an avid lover of dogs.  She is now 92, lives alone and in a very large house and was quite lonely until her family gave her a Cavoodle, a smaller dog than she is used to but one that is easy for her to look after and is loyal and great company.

“She has a personal carer who helps out with a number of tasks around the house and while she is there, they take Ricki (her Cavoodle) around the block together.  The client is unable to walk Ricki independently so being able to walk with the carer allows her to give Ricki some exercise but also gets her out of the house.

Through tailored services that support the care of pets and compassion, in-home care providers like Hazel and Dulcie Home Care empower older people to age gracefully in the comfort of their homes alongside their beloved animal companions.

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