More aged care providers are allowing people to take their pets with them into residential care and the benefits are many.

Back in the day, pets were often banned outright.

Now University of South Australia pet researcher Dr Janette Young has led a team of academics, veterinarians, health and consumer representatives to develop an online tool that assesses whether individual pets can safely be accommodated in aged care homes, easing the stress for many older people moving into residential care.

“We want to support older people to keep their pets at an extremely stressful life stage and also reduce the number of pets who become homeless or need to be euthanised when their owner is no longer able to live independently,” she said.

“But we need to do this in a responsible way, ensuring the safety and health of both animals and people is paramount.”

The Companion Animal Multi-Species Risk Management Tool (CAMSRMT) documents three main risks: from humans to animals and vice versa, and risks from animals to animals. Levels of risks for individual species are rated high to low, assuming pets will be kept in their owners’ rooms, or on a leash when outside or in a communal setting.

CAMSRMT doesn’t guarantee that people can bring their pets into aged care. However, it enables homes to work through the idea as a realistic option and gives advice and tips on how to make bringing people’s pets into aged care more likely.

A 2018 Animal Welfare League report found that only 18 per cent of residential aged care facilities in Australia allowed residents to live with a pet, despite almost one in two people over the age of 65 having pets.

A great initiative.

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