Supporting Aged Care Residents and Pets

The human-animal bond can make a powerful difference to the lives and well-being of people of all ages - and it can have a particularly positive and meaningful impact for older people transitioning into aged care accommodation and the next stage of their lives.

Supporting Aged Care Residents and Pets through the
2014 AWLA Pets in Aged Care Grants Program

The human-animal bond can make a powerful difference to the lives and well-being of people of all ages - and it can have a particularly positive and meaningful impact for older people transitioning into aged care accommodation and the next stage of their lives.

Breaking the human-animal bond apart when an older person is going into care can have a considerable impact for both resident and pet. Separating elderly residents from their animal companions when their pets cannot be accommodated in aged care facilities can lead to significant grief at a time already marked by a profound sense of loss and sadness, and lead to a range of health  problems, sleep and appetite disturbances and integration difficulties.

Some elderly people in the community who can no longer care for themselves are unwilling to leave their homes because they are not permitted to take their pets with them to supported accommodation. Outcomes for their animals vary, with some animals re-homed, others surrendered to shelters and some euthanased.

In recognition of the vital role companion animals can play in the lives of aged care residents and the ongoing costs associated with keeping companion animals in aged care facilities, Animal Welfare League Australia developed the AWLA Pets in Aged Care Grants Program - a small grants funding program designed specifically to support aged care residents and their pets.

The program aims to provide residents with the practical means to cover costs, such as vet bills, grooming, dog walking, feeding, carer support, infrastructure projects or making minor modifications and additions to living quarters and communal areas to enable live-in arrangements.

Earlier this month, we were thrilled to announce the successful recipients of the inaugural AWLA Pets in Aged Care Grants. The grants will go toward a range of innovative and essential pet projects and costs to support aged care residents and their pets in aged care facilities across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Click here for the full list of 2014 AWLA Pets in Aged Care Grant recipients and projects. 

The AWLA Pets in Aged Care Program is part of our broader AWLA Positive Ageing in the Company of Animals Project, which is working to identify successful models for keeping aged care residents and their pets together. As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the human-animal bond and advocating for the rights of aged care residents to have companion animals, we will be soon be launching an online resource bank for aged care providers and older pet owners.

You can find out more about the AWLA Positive Ageing in the Company Project here.

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