It’s no surprise that spending time with animals can ease anxiety, depression, and loneliness in people of all ages.
Since these conditions are common in nursing homes, a new Australian initiative provides a solution so simple, we can’t believe it’s never been done before. Hounds Helping Humans brings greyhound dogs rescued from racetracks to nursing homes to give residents some much-needed puppy love.
Greyhound Rescue has teamed up with HammondCare for this new venture. The care organization has had good luck with past animal-engagement programs with seniors, so this just takes those efforts a bit further. They’re hoping regular visits with the well-behaved animals will improve residents’ quality of life while increasing physical activity and socialization.
Each rescued greyhound will be carefully selected for the Hounds Helping Humans program. They are chosen for their quiet temperament, and they’ll receive special training to prepare them for being in a busy nursing home environment. They’ll also learn to navigate wheelchairs and trolleys and not react to the different smells, sounds, and sights found in care homes.
On their website, Greyhound Rescue states that this breed of dog may be the perfect candidate for senior care.
“They are generally calm and docile in nature as well as being tall enough to be accessible to people who are in wheelchairs or confined to beds. Hound + human teams have been carefully-selected for the program. Each team has undergone purpose-designed training to prepare them for the sounds, sights, activities, and equipment (such as wheelchairs and trolleys) they will encounter in an aged care environment.”
HammondCare CEO Mike Baird says the program will provide companionship and engagement for older people, particularly those who suffer from dementia.
“Meaningful involvement with everyday life is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing,” he stated. “I am delighted that one part of this Life Engagement Pilot is evaluating how animal engagement and support can improve the quality of life for residents.”
Greyhound Rescue President Nat Panzarino couldn’t agree more.
“At Greyhound Rescue, we know all too well the magic that these incredible hounds can bring to people’s lives,” she said. “What better way to share this magic with more people than bringing greyhounds to where they are really needed — to brighten the lives of people who are craving connection and companionship.”
This is such a fabulous way to give working dogs a job while enriching the lives of senior citizens. We hope the program is a huge success so more care homes will follow suit in the future!
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