Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Email abox­hall@big­

OLDER Aus­tralians can ap­ply for a help­ing hand to sup­port them liv­ing with their pets in aged- care set­tings.

The Pets in Aged Care Grants pro­gram is al­lo­cat­ing small grants to help aged- care fa­cil­i­ties make suit­able ar­range­ments to en­able res­i­dents and their pets to live- in to­gether.

Grants pro­vide res­i­dents with the prac­ti­cal means to cover costs, such as vet bills, groom­ing, dog walk­ing, feed­ing or mak­ing mi­nor mod­ifi cations to liv­ing quar­ters to en­able live- in ar­range­ments.

Dog doors, cat fl aps, scratch­ing posts, pet gates or fund­ing a carer to visit are all pos­si­bil­i­ties.

The pow­er­ful dif­fer­ence pets make to the well­be­ing of aged- care res­i­dents has led some fa­cil­i­ties to em­brace the con­cept. One has vol­un­teers vis­it­ing daily to help feed, clean and walk pets.

The fi rst cat- own­ing res­i­dent at this fa­cil­ity cried con­tin­u­ally and would not sleep or eat due to an ini­tial sep­a­ra­tion from her cat. This changed when her cat was re­turned and her life in care took on an­other mean­ing. Other res­i­dents would call on her to look at the cat and so­cial con­nec­tions were made.

Staff and vol­un­teers see benefi ts in the qual­ity of life for pet own­ers as they set­tle more eas­ily into the new en­vi­ron­ment and quickly be­come en­gaged with fel­low res­i­dents and staff by in­tro­duc­ing their pets.

Benefi ts spread be­yond the pet’s owner to other res­i­dents and also staff.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for the Pets in Aged Care Grants are now open and can be made by aged- care fa­cil­i­ties, res­i­dents, or their fam­ily and friends.

Ap­pli­ca­tion pack­ages are avail­able at awla. com. au and the clos­ing date for ap­pli­ca­tions is Septem­ber 5.

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