Respect residents counting sheep in animal therapy sessions

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A resident and care worker with the visiting farm animals during animal therapy time. [Source: Respect]

Lifestyle teams in residential aged care facilities are becoming more in tune with the benefits of animal, or pet, therapy for residents.

Several of Respect’s aged care facilities have adopted the therapy practice as some studies have shown that residents spending even 15 minutes of time with an animal can promote changes in the brain that improve mood, relieve anxiety and reduce feelings of loneliness.

These positive impacts can be even more important across the winter months, where colder weather and darker days tend to naturally impact residents’ mood and well-being, particularly those who may already be struggling with feelings of loneliness or separation. 

Respect’s Coroneagh Park facility residents recently participated in a meet and greet with lambs Kevin and Snow. For many who grew up on farms, each resident enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce and revisit fond childhood memories with animal friends.

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Residents bonding with their woolly visitors. [Source: Respect]

The provider’s other facilities also made steps into the world of animal therapy. At Coates in St Arnaud, residents welcomed Coco, an eight-year-old Shetland pony who trotted about the facility and engaged with residents.

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Shetland pony, Coco, with residents and their visitors at their facility in Victoria. [Image: Respect]

In Lithgow, New South Wales, the Cooinda community welcomed a new furry newcomer to their home – Oreo the rescue rabbit who will be in the care of happy staff and residents for the foreseeable future. 

Respect has been aiming to create a strong calendar of activities to engage residents, keep them creatively active and elevate their sense of health and well-being. Due to the amount of positive feedback it has received, Respect is bringing animal therapy to the forefront of its social care/ lifestyle programs. 

Have any of your residents participated in animal or pet therapy? What were their reactions? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Our residents love our dog therapy program running across all VMCH aged care homes.
    The visits really lift everyone’s spirits and bring smiles to so many faces.
    We also have interactive ‘companion dogs’ with built-in sensor technology. They help to provide comfort, companionship and to reduce stress for residents between ‘real-life’ dog visits.
    Huge thanks to our passionate volunteers who give their time to bring the furry friends in.

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