Animal Welfare League Australia calls on aged care providers to become pet-friendly, saying just one in five facilities currently allow residents to live with their animals.
The AWLA says the consumer focus of the new aged care quality standards provide “the perfect opportunity for the sector to implement a broader range of pet-friendly services.”
President Richard Mussell said that with Australia’s pet ownership rate (63 per cent) the third-highest in the world, just behind the US (65 per cent) and New Zealand (64 per cent), the aged care sector must respond to the increasing demand for services that keep owners and their pets together.
He pointed to a study the AWLA commissioned late last year that found only 18 per cent of Australia’s residential aged care facilities allowed pets to reside with their owners, while just 9 per cent of community care providers said they offered pet-friendly services.
The audit of 2,933 aged care facilities and 2,023 home care places in Australia, conducted by The Stafford Group, was based on information available online.
The audit assumed that if a facility did offer pet-friendly services, it would be considered a selling point to prospective residents and therefore would be profiled on its website, an AWLA executive told Australian Ageing Agenda.
Tasmania (35 per cent) had the highest percentage of residential aged care facilities that consider allowing residents to keep their pets, while Victoria and NSW had the lowest rate (14 per cent), the audit found.
Mr Mussell said that maintaining the human-animal bond had proven health benefits for the owner and their pet.
“It also reduces animal surrender rates to the re-homing, shelter and care services of AWLA’s six member organisations across the nation,” he said.
Our related coverage: Helping seniors at home with their pets
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