Moving into residential aged care can be a very stressful time for an older person, not to mention the anxiety of what will happen to your beloved pet. There are a growing number of facilities around Australia that are now allowing residents to have live in pets or allow visitation, unfortunately though, there are still a lot of aged care communities that do not accept animals. This can lead to the elderly having to relinquish ownership of their best friends which sees the animal being relocated, sent to shelters or euthanased. This loss of companionship can have an effect on an older person’s wellbeing and is something to be avoided.
A small study conducted by the Animal Welfare League of Australia (AWLA) asked facilities to rate themselves as whether they identify as pet friendly. It was found that around 65% have on-site shared pets with the most popular being birds, cats and dogs, and around 65% of the facilities had in place a visiting pets program. Most reassuring was that 98% responded that they allowed family and friends to bring pets in when they were visiting the residents. If you would like to find a pet friendly retirement or aged care facilities you can do this by searching: agedcareguide.com.au.
You are able to see vacancies for a number of aged care and retirement facilities Australia wide, with the function to narrow the search by those that facilitate live in pets. Firstly you will select the level of care you require, your location and finally under features, facility pets.
The Animal Welfare League Australia (AWLA) has also put in place a grants program to deliver crucial funding for pets in aged care facilities. The pets in aged care program will allocate $10,000 to be disbursed in small grants of $1,000 to facilities and residents in order to make modifications of suitable arrangements so residents can have their pets live with them. Trying to protect this bond between owner and pet is the aim of the grant, as separating the elderly from their animal can lead to health problems and other disturbances in routine caused from stress and anxiety. This grant will help in covering the costs of looking after the pet and allow for the elderly person to feel comfortable leaving their previous homes. More information on this grant can be found at awla.com.au
The Australian Pet Welfare Organisation is happy to work with and hear about any and all efforts to minimise unnecessarily euthanased animals in shelters or pounds that are able to be treated or adopted.