Pets provide true comfort to those in later-life

How our team are keeping companions close, across Exeter & East Devon

January is Walk Your Dog Month, in the UK. Whilst the event is a month-long celebration dedicated to promoting the health and wellbeing of dogs through regular exercise, it also offers an opportunity to acknowledge their value in our own lives.

Those contemplating care needs, and a possible move into residential care, will fear the change of surroundings and routine that a change of this magnitude means. For those with beloved pets, a transfer into residential care very likely means that they will be separated from, or in some cases, forced to give up contact with beloved pet companions completely.

For older adults, pets can be a true lifeline. In 2021, Home Instead conducted extensive research* into the benefits of ‘animal therapy’. They explored the idea that the experience could actually lower blood pressure, aid pain reduction, ease loneliness and increase happiness. If you’re an animal lover, it will be of no surprise to hear that those results showed that animal companionship provided positive results in all regards.

Findings also showed that when it comes to deciding where to live in later life, 82 percent of survey participants said that they would not consider moving to a residential home or senior living community without their pet, sighting that they genuinely felt that they would not be as healthy without them.

Residential care is not the only option for those needing an increased level of care, and organisations such as Age UK are actively campaigning for raised awareness and a ‘home first’ approach. It’s a topic discussed in our recent article ‘Home Care or Care Home’ and is certainly thought provoking.

Whilst the benefits of our hourly home care, and Live-In Care are clear with regard to providing a valuable sense of independence and stability for an individual, as a care provider, we work hard to bring the comfort and benefits of contact with animals to all of our clients.

Many of our Care Professionals support with the care of client pets as part of their routine, whether that’s with accompanying clients on walks or assistance with animal care and feeding.

Our ‘Out Instead’ project includes a number of locations where animals are accessible to clients, and the positive impact has been clear in the moment, and our Care Professionals say, long lasting. Clients will often reflect on fun visits that they have shared to locations such as the Donkey Sanctuary or to World of Country Life: organisations that have kindly embraced our ‘Dementia Aware’ initiative and whose teams have taken part in a free dementia awareness workshop from our team.

The wider community engagement with regard to dementia awareness and this topic has also led to involvement from key local businesses involved in animal care, and in particular Otter Vets. The teams at both their Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary practices have enthusiastically engaged in our free workshops to build on their knowledge, enabling them to support their clients in the very best way possible.

Feedback for these workshops was overwhelmingly positive, and we thank the Otter Vets team for their genuine interest and commitment to making the community safer, for both two and four legged residents!

“I can honestly say that we all found the workshop fascinating, and incredibly useful for both our workplace and personal lives. What a valuable insight it was for us all.”

Rebecca Ardley of Otter Vets

If yourself, a loved one or client are contemplating the need for further support, perhaps with beloved pets included, please don’t hesitate to speak to a member our team. We would welcome your enquiry.

Contact our dedicated Home Care Consultants on 01395 200600, email [email protected] HERE, or follow us on Facebook for daily updates and to find out more about our officially ‘CQC Outstanding in all areas‘ care and award winning team, HERE.