In Good Company

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It's early days for the Positive Ageing with Animals Project but already we are hearing of many successful pet-friendly models in aged-care facilities.

We'd like to share a sample of the responses so far.....

From Kilsyth, Victoria - recently we had a case where a client would not enter respite care unless he could bring his dog. This sounded daunting for a short period but we proceeded to admit the man and his dog. It worked brilliantly. The man had a great time and the obese dog lost weight with more walks and a controlled diet. The dog continued to sleep on his owner's bed as he would at home. Man and dog were not separated. This proved to be an incentive for the man to make the huge decision to leave home to receive care.

From Lithgow, NSW - you always need to have the 'treat police' on hand to try and stop too many treats being given by everyone. We have a jar of low fat treats! We originally had a Golden Retriever from Guide Dogs NSW /ACT who we retired 18 mths ago. I then approached the local council ranger to keep an eye out at the council animal shelter for a potentially suitable dog for us.  Bob (Poodle x Maltese) came into our lives as a scruffy, skinny, matted little fellow with a passion for escaping, but his journey has been a delight and very rewarding for our residents, families and staff, even if our fences look like Fort Knox. Bob goes on bus trips with the residents weekly which makes going out a little more normal for everyone.

From Jindalee, QLD - we find that having pets in the facility creates a more normal, family friendly atmosphere. It provides the opportunity for on going activities and interest for residents, relatives and employees. Several residents have taken on the responsibility of feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs which are then used either for eating by the residents or in cooking activities. The guinea pigs have leads and pouches for petting purposes as well as "grooming" days. The budgies provide the residents with company, interest etc. The joy in residents faces when petting the visiting dogs is amazing even for those who are significantly cognitively impaired.

From Mt Gambier, SA - we have had companion pets living in our residential facilities for nearly 20 years, we have seen them support people through the palliative process and cannot emphasise enough how important they are.

From Lismore area, NSW - our village pets have designated living/sleeping areas, pet care plans, pet doors in various locations, volunteers who walk them daily, respite care with staff so that they get some down time away from busy village life. Our interview process for staff involves confirming that they are prepared to care for the animals and that they accept them as part of everyday life at the villages.

From Hobart, TAS - an elderly resident had to leave his dog behind when he went into aged care. The dog went to his family. He missed his dog terribly so now every day, the family drop the dog off at the facility around 10am where the dog stays until about 4pm. For the family, it's a form of doggy day-care and for the resident and dog its blissful time together (the dog also interacts with other residents too). Isn't this a marvellous win/win situation!

Aged care accommodation providers are invited to fill out the on-line survey by clicking here.



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