Caring for a client longing for a dog

Caring for an elderly person to many means keeping them safe from harm, administering medications on time, assisting them with their personal hygiene and day-to-day needs. But ‘outstanding’ care means enabling that person to live their very best life, whatever their circumstances, and that takes thoughtfulness, understanding and very often creativity.

When our professional live-in carer Gary started to support a frail, elderly client in their own home, he became aware of how important pets, and dogs in particular, had been to this person throughout their entire life. Their home was full of dog ornaments and conversations were often about dogs which the client had always had at home until they became unable to care for a pet. Gary quickly realised how much his client missed having a dog around and how not having a dog had left a gap in their life.

Gary decided to research whether there would be an alternative way for his client to engage with dogs again. Pet therapy is acknowledged by many to enhance the wellbeing of elderly people and the local animal shelter had a scheme where they visited care and nursing homes. Gary explained his client’s situation to the manager of the animal shelter who agreed to do a visit with Gary’s client, a first private visit for the shelter.

Gary explains:  “Over the course of the next few months they visited once a week with amazing results, my client loved it and these visits became the highlight of their week.The dog would come and sit on my client’s lap and they would pet it. It was really special and had a hugely positive impact on my client’s wellbeing”.

Gary’s Manager Marie was equally supportive of the animal therapy he was able to arrange and commented on the positive impact this had on his client’s mental wellbeing,

“The impact of this small act was just huge. P was such a very gentle lady, who experienced crippling amounts of anxiety and worry on a daily basis. Animal visits from the shelter transformed her and was something the whole house appreciated and enjoyed, not just P.  She appeared peaceful and calm, lots of smiling and joy with every visit! A wonderful person centred approach – they too could see the transformation in P.”

Due to the success of the home visit and the difference it made to Gary’s client the shelter decided to offer more visits to private homes. Adapting the person centred care The Good care Group pride themselves on.

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