The companionship and unconditional love that pets provide cannot be underestimated, in fact, research has shown that pet therapy has the ability to boost health and general wellbeing in aged care residents.
Seasons Waterford West’s lifestyle coordinator Charmaine Lees had these benefits in mind when she started to bring her beloved Polly in to visit residents in what she calls ‘Pats with Polly’.
“There are so many benefits that come from Pet Therapy and I think Polly enjoys it almost as much as our residents do,” says Charmaine.
After her first visit, Charmaine came up with an ingenious idea to make Pats with Polly more accessible to all residents.
“I had noticed during our visits that some residents had a little difficulty bending over to pat her when she was on the ground. The diversional therapist in me knew there was a solution to this, so enter the ‘Polly Pram!’
“This way Polly is at the right height for a resident who is seated, or not as far to stoop to pat when they are standing or walking.”
While Pats with Polly is in its early days, she is already a hit with residents with one resident in particular, who usually struggles to communicate, brightening up when Polly came for a visit.
“She spoke the most I have ever heard her speak, asking ‘can I please see her?’, ‘how old is she?’, ‘oh she is just gorgeous, can I keep her?’ It is such a wonderful therapy and can reach residents in ways that people can’t.”
The benefits of pets in aged care is a reason why all Seasons communities are pet friendly and residents are supported to keep their pets – providing them with the comfort of having their companion live with them in their own apartment.