Stroke of genius a purrfect solution?

AMONGST the harrowing evidence that led the Aged Care Royal Commission to name its interim report Neglect, an Adelaide researcher had some simple advice which has been adopted by Leederville’s Rosewood aged care facility.

Get more pets, health sciences lecturer Janette Young told commissioners, saying there were many benefits of having some purring companions around old folks’ homes.

Dr Young has spent years combing literature and interviewing senior citizens about pet ownership and says not only do they make people more active, healthier and happier, they can literally be lifesavers: “Another man who talked about having serious depression, just kept saying ‘if it wasn’t for the dog, I would have done something’.”

• Joy de Berg Morrison and Maya the cat at Rosewood. Photo


Rosewood adopted 10-year-old brindle Jeanie in early October and 14-year-old Maya this week, and executive manager Philippa Hinton says she’s astounded by the positive impact they’ve already had.

“The feedback has been unbelievable. It’s lovely to see the enjoyment the cats have already brought. When Jeanie and Maya walk into the room, you see the faces of our residents light up,” Ms Hinton said.

“Research has shown that pets offer significant benefits by encouraging socialisation, particularly for residents living with dementia, as well as offering a sensory experience with residents able to touch, pat and play with the animals.”

The new pets came from Cat Haven’s companion cats program and CEO Roz Robinson says it was great to find two old moggies a new home.

“This program has been running for a number of years years with over a dozen nursing homes and their residents enjoying the wonderful companionship of loving and laid back cats in their twilight years,” Ms Robinson said.

“We understand that the cats have helped some of the older residents to communicate again, and help calm them.”


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