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Puppy play date marks Dementia Awareness Month

Mercy Place East Melbourne hosted a ‘doggy play date’ for residents, families and staff earlier this month, to mark the start of Alzheimer’s Australia’s Dementia Awareness Month.

Pets in aged care can greatly increase the quality of life for residents

The theme for this year’s Dementia Awareness Month, which runs throughout September, is You are not alone.

Mercy Place East Melbourne decided to put its own spin on this by hosting the special ‘play date’. Stars of the show included a french bulldog, cavoodle, beagle and pomeranian.

Research shows that pets in aged care reduce tension, fatigue and confusion, as well as increasing enthusiasm and interest, and greatly increase quality of life for residents. Pets are also an important feature of Mercy Health’s Model of Residential Aged Care.

“I think everyone at every stage of life deserves the joy, companionship and love that pets inject where ever they go,” says celebrity vet Dr Katrina Warren, who was a special guest at the event.

“Pets are one of the few interventions that can permanently lift the mood of an aged care home. Plus they’re tactile and affectionate – what more could you want?”

Kevin Mercer, Chief Executive Aged & Community Care says every Mercy Health aged care home either has a live-in pet or receives regular animal visits as part of the organisation’s Model of Residential Aged Care.

“One of our key objectives is to partner with residents, families and loved ones to nurture individual health and emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing,” Mr Mercer explains. “Pet visits provide an opportunity for people living with dementia to express their emotions and to reminisce about past pets, while providing an important sensory experience.”


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