Animal-assisted Therapy Brings Joy to Respect’s Residents
Alcheringa, Coates, Cooinda, Coroneagh Park |
With ongoing research continuing to promote the benefits of animal interaction for residents in aged care settings, it has been a particular focus for several Respect homes in recent months, as our social care teams continue to inspire participation and promote wellbeing.
For decades, ‘animal-assisted therapy’ and ‘pet therapy’ have been proven to provide a host of health benefits for older people living in aged care, such as fostering emotional wellbeing, alleviating stress and anxiety, enhancing social interaction, and delivering joy and companionship.
In fact, some studies have even shown that if an individual spends just 15 minutes bonding with an animal, it can promote hormonal changes in their brain – boosting mood and alleviating negative feelings of loneliness, as well as providing support for mental and social health issues.
These positive impacts can be even more important across the winter months, where colder weather and darker days tend to naturally impact individual’s mood and wellbeing, particularly those who may already be struggling with feelings of loneliness or separation.
At Respect, we fully appreciate the benefits of animal interaction for our residents and its unique influence on their social and psychological wellbeing. And, in recent weeks, residents across several of our homes have enjoyed special visits from a host of special guests, and their immediate feedback has been remarkable.
Strong community connection, via the generosity of local Tasmanian businesses, saw our Coroneagh Park residents in Penguin participate in a meet and greet with lambs ‘Kevin’ and ‘Snow’. Each resident enjoyed building a connection with both visitors and, for many who grew up on farms, it also provided them the opportunity to reminisce and revisit fond childhood memories with animal friends of old.
Our homes in New South Wales have also organised recent animal therapy sessions. At Coates in St Arnaud, residents welcomed Coco, an eight-year-old Shetland pony, who took great pleasure engaging residents one by one. And in Lithgow, our Cooinda community welcomed a new addition to their home: Oreo the rescue rabbit, who is set to provide continued connection with residents for the foreseeable future – much to the pleasure of residents and staff alike.
On the opposite side of the Murray River, our Alcheringa residents in Swan Hill also enjoyed spending some quality time with pet rabbits. Thanks to the family of one of our nursing staff members, a full litter was brought in for an afternoon full of resident engagement and play.
Across Respect’s aged care homes, we believe that creating a robust calendar of activities and programs go hand in hand with providing our residents with engagement, creative outlets, and opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing. And considering the feedback we routinely receive from residents and staff around the benefits they experience from participating in animal and pet activities, it will continue to be an ongoing focus for our social care teams.
To keep up to date with further activities and events taking place in our homes, follow us on our Facebook page.