Call for funded assistance for home care pet owners

There’s an urgent need to support pet ownership for older Australians who choose to live independently, says a new survey.

There’s an urgent need to support pet ownership for older Australians who choose to live independently, says a new survey.

The poll – conducted by national animal welfare charity Companion Animal Network Australia – shows 40 per cent of people receiving a government-funded Home Care Package live with a pet.

Yet, according to CANA’s Status of pets in aged care survey – which is based on the responses of 1,130 participants, including older adults, aged care staff and the broader public – only 9 per cent receive support to help care for their companion animal – dog walking, for example, or transport for pets who need a vet.

Trish Ennis and Buddy

“The Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages can be extended to determine and secure the necessary assistance for a person to live independently with their pet by ensuring services are offered to support pet health and wellbeing,” said Ms Ennis.

“Increasing pet-friendly in-home aged care support will also help prevent animals being euthanised or surrendered to shelters and maximise the physical and emotional health of animal-loving older people.”

It’s long been proven that owning a pet provides companionship, reduces stress and encourages social interaction. This is particularly true for older adults who face isolation and loneliness, such as those who live home alone.

“While we’ve always recognised the benefits of owning a pet, our survey shows the Australian government and aged care providers have been slow to understand the enduring value of the human-animal bond for older people,” said Ms Ennis.

There needs to be more information disseminated about the benefits of pet ownership she said. “Education and knowledge about the benefits of pet ownership and accommodating pets are the key factors to allaying fears and opening up opportunities.”

As well as the benefits for older people, aged care providers open to pets could do well financially added Ms Ennis. “The inclusion of pets is a great business model as aged care facilities and home care companies that include pets are in greater need and their clients and communities are happier and healthier.”

CANA’s Pet Friendly Aged Care hub has free resources for aged care providers, support agencies and organisations to manage and care for pets in aged care settings.

“As our population ages, solutions to maintaining a high-quality of life include finding ways to help ageing people retain their pets,” said Ms Ennis.

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Tags: CANA, featured, pet ownership, Trish Ennis,

5 thoughts on “Call for funded assistance for home care pet owners

  1. I believe that people living at home with support of HCP should be able to request support to ensure there animals are cared for when they cant do this independently.

  2. The recent updates to the inclusions and exclusions of Home Care Packages has specifically excluded pet care as a service offering under a HCP. But as HCPs are supported by taxes, should the responsibility of pet care be imposed on tax payers? Perhaps providers need to consider privately funded pet care service offerings instead.

  3. I personally do not believe government funding should be made available for pet care.
    Caring for a pet is expensive with food and vet fees and pet insurance. In my opinion, if a person makes a commitment to own a pet, they need to be prepared to be accountable for the total welfare of their pet and have arrangements made for the needs of their pet if for whatever reason they can no longer provide that care.
    Tax payers should not be expected to pay for pet care, considering many hard working tax payers cannot afford to have a pet themselves!

  4. With the increase in interest rates I am struggling with the cost of feeding my 3 fourteen year old cats. Two cats were strays and one came here last year after her dad passed away. Because I don’t particularly enjoy any social activities since I had a stroke that forced me to stop working these cats are my reason for living. I constantly worry about the cost of feeding them and heaven forbid if they needed veterinary care. I would really appreciate being able to enjoy them with less financial hardship. I also have a dog who I love to walk, because of my social anxiety I wouldn’t walk without him. My HCP package would pay for me to have human interaction however, for me, my pet companionship is what is giving me the will to live. Without these guys my mental health may be compromised.

  5. When you look at the Home Care Package and what it allows for care recipients (CRs), food and medical are considered personal costs and therefore have to be covered by the CR, however if the CR needed physio or someone to take them out for social purposes, that would be allowed.
    The Home Care Package Program Operational Manual specifically excludes Pet care & associated costs. however as we know, some CRs rely on their pets for company which helps with their mental health. Therefore, when you take that into account, maybe the package should allow some costs relating to a CR’s pets such as someone to help with walking and keeping their pets clean.
    As mentioned, food and medical costs aren’t allowed for the CR so based on that, they shouldn’t be allowed for the pets either.

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