Greenway Views a leader in pet friendly seniors living and aged care in ACT

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“Greenway Views ® is a retirement and aged care community located in Tuggeranong, ACT and is operated by LDK (Love, Decency and Kindness) Seniors’ Living, which provides for all levels of care from independent right up to dementia, palliative and end-of-life care in ACT and NSW.”

The village leads a growing list of aged care facilities in ACT that allows pets to come along with their owners.

“It’s encouraging to see more residential aged care facilities allowing pets either to live-in or visit for regular pet therapy sessions for residents,” said Michelle Bennet, General Manager at Greenway Views. “Pets are loved ones, so allowing the constant companionship of a beloved pet with a senior resident in care has a vital effect on their overall wellbeing and quality of life.”

Greenway Views has more than 50 residents with pets with a total of more than 60 pets living in the village, including 45 dogs, five cats, a few budgerigars, a canary and several fish.

Each resident or couple lives with their pet in their spacious, premium apartment within a vibrant village community. Residents can live as independently as they wish or receive personalised care in their own home through LDK’s Home Care services.

“Residents can also opt to receive support services for their pet through their home care package,” said Ms Bennet.

Greenway Views and its sister village Amberfield in Yarralumla also have an on-site dog park where residents like to get together every day to socialise and enjoy each other’s company.

Greenway Views has been pet-friendly since its opening

Greenway Views opened its doors to residents and their pets in January 2020.

Ms Bennet said, “Many residents move to a retirement village after living in a house for a long time. It is a big change and a hard decision. Having to downsize, change your lifestyle, admit that you need support and you’re no longer independent, affects one’s equilibrium. Being able to bring your pet with you helps make it all much easier and kinder.”

Greenway Views’ policy on pets considers all companion animals, so long as they have a suitable temperament to safely socialise with other people and pets and are up-to-date on vaccinations.

“Residents who have pets must also have a care plan that outlines what the pet would require in an emergency, such as when the resident must go to hospital. The pet care plan includes information on the pets’ dietary requirements and walking and care schedules,” said Ms Bennet.

Pets benefit residents in many ways

Ms Bennet can think of numerous examples of how pets have impacted the physical and mental wellbeing of Greenway View residents.

“Many residents say their pet gives them a reason to get out of bed, alleviates loneliness and helps with socialisation,” she said. “Many unequivocally declare that they would not have come if they could not have their pet with them 24/7, as the effect of being separated from their loved one would be unacceptable.”

Ms Bennet recalled a resident who moved to Cogan Cottage, which is Greenway Views’ secure dementia dwelling. The care team assisted and supported the resident to continue having her dog accompany and live with her.

“The familiarity and constant companionship of a beloved pet has a positive and stabilising impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of seniors, especially someone with dementia,” she said. “Having these many pets in the village is also beneficial for other residents and staff who get to interact and enjoy pats and cuddles. Everyone knows the dogs’ names and the dogs enjoy the love and pats they get from everybody as well!”

Greenway Views also allows staff to bring their pets to work.

“We have two staff members who bring their dogs to work every Friday and we have a group of residents with dementia who eagerly wait for these pets so that they can play with and give them treats,” said Ms Bennet.

Greenway Views partnership with Pets and Positive Ageing

LDK shows its commitment to being a pet friendly aged care provider also through its partnership with PAPA (Pets and Positive Ageing), a voluntary community organisation committed to supporting ageing pet owners with information and support.

Companion Animal Network Australia also collaborates with PAPA in advocating for pet friendly aged care policies.

“PAPA advocates for senior pet owners to stay with their pets and provides information and references to pet friendly retirement villages and aged care facilities, including LDK villages,” said Ms Bennet. “LDK is listed on the PAPA website so pet owners are referred to consider an LDK village when looking to move and have their pet with them.”

LDK promotes and uses PAPA’s resources in our villages, including their publications, pet care plan and a wallet card that tells people ‘I have a pet at home’ and who to call, so in the event of an emergency, the right people are notified.

Thinking of the future of pet friendly aged care, Ms Bennet says it’s a good sign of change that more and more aged care facilities are accepting pets, and there is always room for improvement.

“Pets being a trip hazard is one of the reasons pets may not be allowed, but the extensive evidence of the positive impacts of pets far outweighs the challenges,” she said. “Many challenges can be overcome with the right systems, policies and support – from all staff as well as other residents.

“Many aspects of residential aged care will have to innovate in response to consumer needs and requirements and being pet friendly is increasingly a demand criterion for pet owners to consider moving into a retirement and aged care village. We hope that more places will recognise the benefits and embrace being pet friendly.”

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