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.