Positive ageing at pet friendly Lifeview
Older people moving into aged-care accommodation are often unable to take their pets with them and are forced to say goodbye to their four-legged friends.
As they grieve deeply for their beloved pet left behind, the outcomes vary for the animals involved. Some pets are re-homed, others are surrendered to a shelter and some even euthanised.
In Victoria, residential care provider Lifeview is helping aged care residents live more active and vibrant lives with their beloved companion animals at their side. Located in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs at Chelsea, Emerald, Cranbourne and Wheelers Hill, the facility’s pet friendly atmosphere has inspired residents and staff alike!
“Pets are family, and many older people see their pet as a vital part of their life,” said Samantha Jewell, CEO of Lifeview. “Moving into aged care is a big enough change already without losing their beloved pet. Many aged care homes do not allow pets. At Lifeview, we believe in keeping people and their pets together.”
Residents must be able to look after their pet to a certain degree, such as feeding, changing their water, cleaning their cat’s litter tray and taking their dog for a walk. This helps residents maintain their independence and keep them more agile.
Lifeview also has visiting therapy pets and staff often bring in their pets as well, such as Shadow who comes in every day with Jess Lammeretz, Argyle Court Residential Manager, and is a big part of the home.
“Even our corporate office is pet friendly,” said Samantha. “We are all pet lovers, and it runs through the business as well.”
When residents can no longer care for their pet, their family must take care of the animal.
“We had a resident who couldn’t care for her cat any longer and one of our staff adopted the cat. She brings the cat to the home for a visit,” said Samantha.
“Pets bring a lot of joy and more positivity to their owners as well as to the residents around them. They help residents socialise and settle in, easing their move into the home and making new friends. Pets also assist with reminiscence therapy, as residents recall the animals they had when they were a child and share stories and help reconnect.”
A large body of research shows that pets help to reduce feelings of loneliness and alleviate the impacts on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Australia CAN is working closely with Lifeview to help other residential care facilities adopt this positive pet-friendly change to enhance the lives of the residents and their beloved pets.
Moving into aged care might mean having to give up your home and most of your possessions (which is already a challenging experience), but it should not mean you should lose your best friend and, potentially, lifeline.
For more information about Australia CAN’s Pets in Aged Care project, contact Australia CAN CEO Trish Ennis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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