16 April 2017

And my dog comes too!

| canberradogwalks
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As you get older, especially if you’re living alone, the bond with your pet can get very strong. They are your best friend, loyal companion and daily source affection. What happens if you need to move into a retirement village, hostel or nursing home but your pet isn’t welcome?

This heartbreaking decision is faced by many people every day. But does it have to be this way? Why can’t your dog or cat come with you?

Canberra-based volunteer community organisation, Pets & Positive Ageing, is working to do just that. Its mission is to help older pet owners and their beloved pets stay together.

“The good news is that more and more aged care operators are recognising the benefits of pets,” says President, Jan Phillips.

The science is clear that living with pets is good for you. Studies consistently show that people living with dogs or cats live longer and are healthier and happier. Pets are also the ‘ice-breaker’ for all important human connections too.

“We want to promote the significant benefits for older Australians being able to keep their pets – no matter where they are living,” said Jan.

While some rules apply, there are now several pet-friendly retirement villages and residential care options available in the ACT. But these are still a minority.

“Our priority is to increase the number of aged care organisations that allow pets to follow their owners. We also want to increase in-home support for frail-aged, low-income pet owners living at home. In fact, we’re campaigning for pet support to become a standard service offered in home care packages.

“We focus on practical initiatives, and the welfare needs of both older pet owners and their pets.”

Pets & Positive Ageing is hosting a free public session exploring ways to improve pet access in Australia and featuring speakers from the ACT Government, the RSPCA, and community organisations.

Pets & Positive Ageing provides free information about:

  • pet-friendly retirement villages and residential care options
  • pet support in aged care packages or through in-home community services
  • designing pet-friendly accommodation and policies

Free information about dog-friendly Canberra is also available at Canberra Dog Walks.

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