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The Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania has thrown its support behind the Companion Animal Network Australia’s push to increase pet-friendly in-home support for ageing Aussies.
Australia is a nation of animal lovers, yet the national animal welfare charity says just 18 per cent of aged care facilities consider allowing residents to keep a pet.
Companion Animal Network Australia’s Pets in Aged Care Survey shows an urgent need to support pet ownership for older Australians who choose to live independently
“Anecdotal evidence points to the physical and mental health benefits of pet ownership,” Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania CEO Mark Wild said.
“Supporting ageing pet owners to continue to care for their animals at home can only have flow-on effects for continued good health and well being, as well as reducing the number of pets who are reluctantly surrendered to animal shelters around the country every year.”
CANA is a national animal welfare charity. The Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania is a member of the network and supports its work.
CANA’s Pet Friendly Aged Care program is aimed at increasing the number of older people who thrive in the company of companion animals by sharing the benefits of a pet-friendly approach with aged care homes and their residents.
Pet Friendly Aged Care has established a series of ongoing surveys to find out what the aged care and broader community thinks about pet ownership among older people.
A survey completed this year found 86 per cent of older adults with pets experience improved mental and physical health.
When it comes to older adults living at home, the survey reveals 61 per cent of older adults live alone, and 74 per cent of older adults with pets say their animals provide companionship and reduce loneliness.
While 40 per cent of older adults who receive a Home Care Package have pets, only 9 per cent of these pet owners receive pet care support, such as walking their dog (64 per cent need help) and taking their pet to the vet (62 per cent need help).
Another survey showed:
• Eighty-six per cent of people say pets ease the transition into aged care
• Ninety-five per cent of people believe pets contribute to improved health outcomes for older people
• Seventy-eight per cent of people say a pet lessens loneliness among older owners
Companion Animal Network Australia is calling on Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler and Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells to help our ageing population maintain a high quality of life, including finding ways to help older adults retain their pets.
“Many older people do not have the support to continue to care for their pets at home and aren’t able to rehome them due to limited social networks,” DHoT CEO Mark Wild said.
“We frequently see heartbreaking situations in which older people surrender their beloved pets to us purely because of health and mobility issues caused by ageing. The loss of their pets at what is already a difficult time in their lives can be emotionally devastating.”