The best therapists are said to have four legs and fur, which is why Alino Living’s Killarney Court welcomed two 12-week-old King Charles Cavalier puppies to its community earlier this month.
Pet therapy is commonly practiced at aged care facilities as it offers joy, comfort and companionship to residents. Killarney Court has long been aware of these benefits, having had pets on site for years, including Bella the cat and Elsie and Charlie the budgerigars.
The addition of dogs to the Central Coast facility, however, can be attributed to resident Peter Chambers who, with permission from the facility, purchased communal puppies, Molly and Lilly.
Prior to moving to Killarney Court almost four years ago, Peter had enjoyed the companionship of dogs for his entire life so, despite settling into his new home nicely, longed for that special human-dog bond.
“Bella the cat is lovely, but I was missing having more friendly four-legged friends around,” Peter explained.
“I thought, I can’t be the only one who would love to see a dog around here, so I spoke with staff, and we made it happen.”
Despite their proclivity to sample every piece of furniture in Killarney Court with puppy licks, Alino Living Co-Chief Executive Officer Greg Williams said Molly and Lilly are well behaved and settling in nicely to the community, which is home to 68 human residents.
“We know that a bond between humans and pets is great for mental health, for promoting engagement and for keeping a positive attitude, and it’s great for physical activity and movement as well,” explained Greg.
“The recent addition of Molly and Lilly is part of our engagement and therapy program to ensure our residents continue to live fulfilled and positive lives and we are already seeing the positive impact they are having on our residents’ overall wellbeing,” he said.
Unfortunately for many older aged people, they have lost or had to leave their pets as part of their transition into aged care.
“The addition of Molly and Lilly has been a welcome one, allowing our residents to continue their sense of ownership of a beloved animal without the burden of full-time pet care.
“Molly and Lilly have quickly settled into life at Killarney Court, often found nestled in the arms of residents during leisure and lifestyle activities and quietly watching from afar in their pen during mealtimes,” added Greg.
While they remain puppies for now and in the good care of the Alino Living team, the aged care provider is pleased to see the benefits in introducing them to residents, both socially and emotionally.
“Dogs, particularly puppies, bring about such a positive and happy atmosphere and trialling this permanent pet program at Killarney Court is part of our strategy to implement initiatives that have long-term benefits for both our residents and our team, and that create a sense of what they would experience within their own home in the community,” said Greg.
“It’s beyond the social benefits – pets in aged care offer physical benefits in the form of tactile stimulation and motivation for movement, cognitive benefits such as stimulating memory and game playing as well as environmental improvements to decrease any sense of living within a sterile care setting.”
“We are really excited to continue to see how Molly and Lilly grow at Killarney Court and how they can continue to provide so much love to our residents,” he concluded.