Our beloved pets can give us joy and comfort, and particularly as we age. For many of us, they are the most important companions in our lives. That's why where possible, we welcome pets to the Freedom family. Let's take a quick look at all the benefits a furry, finned or feathered friend provide as we age...
Physical exercise and wellbeing
Owning a canine friend encourages us to step outdoors and soak up our Aussie sunshine, helping us absorb precious vitamin D, and stretching our muscles and joints. Our pets’ need for exercise can be a great motivator for regular physical activity and fresh air. This could offer a possible explanation for Australian pet owners being less likely to visit their doctor, take less medication, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and also recover from illness faster than their non-pet owner counterparts.
Mental wellness: emotional support and encouraging social interaction
Our pets also provide us with company and emotional support; combating social isolation and loneliness. For our residents who have challenges communicating and connecting with others, whether as a result of dementia or simply a shy personality, a pet can provide a much needed form of social support. Pets have been proven to lower stress and improve mental wellness. One study found that in three weeks of pets being introduced into a home of someone suffering Alzheimer’s disease, their agitation levels significantly decreased.
Providing company, love and loyalty; pets can also provide reassurance not just to their owners, but also loved ones of their owners, who may be worried about their relatives feeling lonely. The acceptance of small pets in our Freedom communities (provided they are suitable to join the community) also presents opportunities for other residents to benefit from the relaxing and calming effect of animal companionship. Pet ownership also provides opportunities for interaction and conversation with people inside and outside of the Freedom community about their shared love of animals.
Easier transition into aged care living
With two-thirds of Australian households regarding their canine or feline companion as part of the family, Freedom Aged Care recognises these valuable relationships. If you have ever moved into a new home, you’ll know it can be an exciting, but sometimes unsettling and stressful time. Now, imagine having to give up your pet while making this considerable transition. Understandably this can be very traumatic for pet owners. We at Freedom hope to make this a smoother and stress-free transition by providing our residents with the continued comfort and support of their pets.
Responsibility and purpose
Having a family pet can also motivate our residents to have a healthy and meaningful routine. It offers the responsibility of looking after a family member, giving a unique feeling of purpose. A pet’s needs provide opportunities for activities and shared interests that can motivate senior pet owners to make the most out of their day. While these forms of responsibility are beneficial, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Looking after a pet can be demanding, so Freedom offers support for our residents in the form of a personalised pet care plan, which could include assistance with feeding, exercise, and vet visits.
Our furry companions can also provide a feeling of further security and comfort for new residents, who might be nervous if they live on their own or are just hesitant about living in a new environment. While Freedom offers 24/7 nursing care and support throughout the day and night, pets can provide reassurance and familiarity that can be an additional source of support.
Pet owners exercise more, have higher levels of self-esteem, and have performed comparatively better on measures of wellbeing. At Freedom, we understand the benefits that pet ownership can bring to our current and future community members, and that's why we're Australia's leading pet friendly aged care provider.