PET PALS helping older and disabled residents

5 May 2014

A NEW program helping older and disabled residents to care for their pets and experience the benefits of pet visits has been launched by the Alpine Shire Community Care Service in conjunction with People Pet Partnership (Australia).

Alpine PET PALS is an Alpine Shire in-home volunteer visiting program for pet owners requiring assistance caring for their pet, or for people who would enjoy a home visit by a volunteer and their dog.

Alpine@Home Homecare Assessment Officer Kerry Chapman said the program aims to benefit both homecare clients and their pets.

“We have some fantastic volunteers who are expertly trained and experienced with animals and know how important it is for people to spend time around pets,” she said.

“This program is a great way to offer a little extra help for people who may need it and share the pleasure that comes from spending time with animals.

“Just the presence of pets can lift a person’s spirits and help them relax.”

Animals have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of older people. Animals support clients to remain independent in their own homes by providing companionship and security, and to remain engaged with their community through physical activity and social connectedness.

“For many people, pets are among their most important companions, and it can be very difficult to lose a pet and be deprived of such important companionship,” Ms Chapman said.

“We know it can be hard for people to consider giving up their pets if they become unable to take care of them, so hopefully this program will help people remain independent longer in their homes with their pets.”

Volunteers can also help clients choose the appropriate pet for their lifestyle, and provide information and advice on pet care.

The program is available for Alpine@Home clients. For more information contact the Alpine@Home Homecare Hotline on (03) 5755 0142.

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