A NSW Central Coast residential aged care facility (RACF) has introduced permanent pet therapy to bring comfort and companionship to its residents.
Killarney Court is the first of Alino Living’s five RACFs to trial a permanent pet program, with plans already to expand it to the other sites following the social and emotional benefits seen with residents.
Two 12-week-old King Charles Cavalier puppies, Molly and Lilly are communal pets for the 68 residents of Killarney Court, following resident Peter Chambers, who with permission, purchased the communal puppies.
Prior to moving to Killarney Court almost four years ago, Peter had had dogs for his entire life. “I thought, I can’t be the only one who would love to see a dog around here, so I spoke with staff, and we made it happen.”
The RACF has had pets on site for years, including Bella the cat and Elsie and Charlie the budgerigars, but not dogs. Pet therapy in aged care has been found to have a multitude of benefits for resident’s health and wellbeing. In addition, it helps many with the transition into aged care.
Unfortunately for many older aged people, they have lost or had to leave their pets as part of their transition into aged care, said Alino Living co-CEO Greg Williams.
“It’s allowing our residents to continue their sense of ownership of a beloved animal without the burden of full-time pet care.”
The recent addition of the puppies was part of an engagement and therapy program aimed for residents to continue to live fulfilled and positive lives, Mr Williams said.
“We are already seeing the positive impact they are having on our residents’ overall wellbeing.”
Molly and Lilly were often found nestled in the arms of residents during leisure and lifestyle activities.
“It’s beyond the social benefits – pets in aged care offer physical benefits in the form of tactile stimulation and motivation for movement, cognitive benefits such as stimulating memory and game playing as well as environmental improvements to decrease any sense of living within a sterile care setting,” Mr Williams said.