Companion Animal Network Australia (CANA) is calling for the government to increase the number of pet-friendly aged care support services.

CANA’s message comes in support of the Joint Submission – Foundations of the Aged Care Act by 13 national organisations working with older people and carers demanding a human-rights-based aged care act that reflects the experiences and wants of older people, including the right to have their beloved companion animals acknowledged, supported, and respected.

Trish Ennis, CEO of CANA, said there is a painful absence of government support for older people with pets in in-home care, resulting in not only putting people’s lives in danger but also their much-loved animals being surrendered to shelters across the country.

“We are calling Hon Mark Butler MP, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care and Hon Anika Wells MP, Federal Minister for Aged Care to help our ageing population maintain a high quality of life and that includes finding ways to help older adults retain their pets.”

A recent survey by CANA shows that 86 per cent of older adults with pets’ experience improved mental and physical health and that 74 per cent with pets say their animals provide companionship and reduce loneliness. 

“The health and well-being benefits of pet ownership are measurable and indisputable. The CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) and HCP (Home Care Package) 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 well-being.”

Ennis says that increasing the number of pet-friendly in-home aged care support will also help to prevent animals from being euthanised or surrendered to shelters and maximise the physical and emotional health of animal-loving older people.

“Increasing pet-friendly aged care support will not cost the government much. The financial implementation of adding these resources to the packages is minor and would in many cases mean simply changing the wording of the delivery of existing items. We want to make sure the care that older pet owners receive at home contributes to their quality of life and supports their family and community connections,” explained Ennis.

To sign the petition, click here.

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