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Pets part of rest home too

Pets part of rest home too

Sometimes moving to a rest home can be stressful and emotional. Forcing you to part with your pet at the same time can be heart breaking.

Coombrae Home resident Owen Hughes enjoys feeding the home’s new hens.

Yet, often this is the reality for rest home residents. But not at Enliven’s Eden Alternative homes such as Brightwater Home and Willard Home in Palmerston North or Coombrae Home in Feilding.

Enliven believes continuing contact with animals is integral to the wellbeing of older people.

“For many people pets are part of their family and they have an incredibly strong bond with them. We don’t want our residents to go through the heart break of losing their pet when they don’t have to,” explains Enliven general manager Nicola Turner.

She says everyday staff see the incredible influence animals have on people – both calming and energising.

“For some residents sitting patting their cat is really calming, while for others it might encourage them to be more active – like collecting the eggs from the hens or taking the dog for a walk.”

Most of the animal residents at Enliven homes are cats and birds, although there is also the occasional dog that moves in with its owner.

“Obviously we take each situation on a case-by-case basis. We need to make sure that the pet is going to get on with other people and animals that also live at the home.”

Pets also play a role in ensuring residents have meaningful activity and purpose in their lives, explains Nicola.

“It’s different for everyone, but often having a pet to look after gives people a positive focus. Wellbeing means not only receiving care, but giving care too.”

Coombrae Home resident Owen Hughes always had hens, so when he moved to the rest home he was pleased to find they already had two hens. Recently he convinced the home’s residents it would be good to get another four birds.

“I always had hens at home. Every two years I used to go and get half a dozen new hens, so when I moved in here I thought having six would be better than just two. The new hens lay four eggs a day which I collect when I feed them.”

And it’s not just Enliven’s homes that welcome animals. Pets are also welcome at Enliven’s Brightwater Retirement Village in Palmerston North and Coombrae Retirement Village in Fielding. For more information about Enliven’s Eden Alternative philosophy, or for information about Enliven click here.

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