Care bears

IN lighter Rosewood news, the old-timers at the Cleaver Street retirement home were visited by a koala, dingo and apparently, a python, for a therapeutic animal session.

WestOz Wildlife brought in the animals and coordinator Beth Mullany says “coming to nursing homes is one of the most rewarding parts of our job. Many older people have gone their whole lives without ever seeing Australian wildlife up close. We find that even non-verbal people with dementia light up and respond to our animals, sometimes even with tears of happiness”.

• Rosewood resident Shirley Lay hanging out with a koala. 

• Rosewood resident Shirley Lay hanging out with a koala.

The residents are aged between 68 to 103 and Rosewood occupational therapist Marianne Taylor says about half have some degree of dementia. Animal therapy has been found to be of great benefit to people living with the disease.

Resident Rob Allen said “it was fascinating being able to see them up close. Native animals are fascinating because they are so unique to Australia’s environment”.

The folk at Rosewood get regular visits from animals but they’re usually more domesticated: “Visits of animals, whether by Australian wildlife or the weekly visits by our volunteer therapy dog, encourage social interaction and provide invaluable sensory experiences,” Ms Taylor says.

by DAVID BELL

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