Pets often become a very beloved family member of the elderly. Often, they are the only ‘family’ someone has in the city in which they live. The distress of needing to be hospitalized or moved into residential aged care is heightened by thinking that their pet may not be getting cared for, or may be left at home alone – unfed. Sometimes this thought is more distressing than the act of being hospitalized.

All Steps Aged Care may be able to help you find an aged care facility that allows you to bring your pet. These facilities are few and far between and they will only accept small animals (and more often, birds). Chances are you may not be able to bring your pet, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Some facilities also have their own resident pets. A few on the Gold Coast have cats, quite a few have birds, and occasionally your own pet may be able to come in and visit you in your new home.

For those that have to leave their pet behind, the Animal Welfare League QLD (AWLQ) has started the phenomenal Golden Hearts – Seniors Pet Support Program. If an elderly member is in an emergency situation their pet will be well cared for, short-term fostered out till it can return home to its owner, or adopted out free of charge if the owner can no longer care for it. Just imagine the peace of mind this would give to someone in an already stressful situation.

If you are 65 or older you can join this program for free. You will receive access to services exclusive to Golden Hearts, including their seniors adoption program, short-term emergency pet foster care, support for seniors moving into aged-care and access their Legacy Pets program. You’ll also receive 50% off annual vaccinations (excludes heartworm) at their AWLQ Community Vet Clinics.

This service has Ita Buttrose as its ambassador, it’s well-regarded by All Steps Aged Care, and it’s something maybe YOU should be looking into….