Residents enjoy the pet effect

Published: 26 Jul 2023

The welcome mat has been rolled out for friendly paws at all of NVC Group’s aged care homes recently.

Autumn Lodge in Macksville, Riverside Gardens in Nambucca Heads and Cedar Place in Kempsey have welcomed either baby animals or pets recently to provide residents some moments of pet therapy.

Autumn Lodge Service Manager Joanne Parry said Pets & Critters from Bowraville visited Autumn Lodge last week and Riverside Gardens on 8 May with a baby lamb, chickens, ducklings and rabbits.

“Pets and baby animals are perfect at supporting our residents’ physical mental and social health,” she said.

“I visited the Pets & Critters pen myself and the joyfulness of the baby animals was evident for all to see.

“Looking at all the animals, feeding them and holding them lifted everyone’s mood – even mine.”

According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, interactions with animals offer a range of health-related benefits including improvement in psychological wellbeing.

There has even been overseas studies that alleged an improvement in communication and attentiveness in residents with dementia after pet therapy.

Cedar Place Service Manager Joane Leicht said she often brings her Maltese/Jack Russell dog, Ted, to work with her because he is so popular with residents.

“Ted just loves to come to work with me as he gets loads of pats, attention, and even a few treats,” she said.

“Ted sits in the library at Cedar Place with the residents and the ladies stroke him and talk to him. I am sure Ted just loves it and I think, perhaps, he reminds them of their own well-loved pets from their pasts.

“Residents’ family and friends are also encouraged to bring along suitable family pets for a supervised visit too.”

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