Interacting with animals always puts a smile on the faces of Beaufort and Skipton Health Services aged care residents.
A group of residents from the Beaufort campus visited nurse Katrina Doodt’s family property in Invermay on Thursday.
There they fed and patted a baby calf, a cat, dogs and a horse called Disco.
Ms Doodt said it was beautiful to see the residents relaxed and happy.
“Most of the residents would have grown up or lived on a farm. Animals are non-judgmental. There is always friendship,” she said.
Most of the residents would have grown up or lived on a farm.Katrina Doodt, Beaufort and Skipton Health Services
Aged care residents are able to go on a bus trip from Beaufort once a week. Trips aim to cater for varying interests.
The visit to see the animals at Invermay is the only bus trip resident Frank Radke usually joins. He lived on a large property with animals before moving to the residential facility.
His ability to connect with the animals at the Invermay property is clear. Ms Doodt explained he is one of the only who can pat the property’s cat.
Beaufort and Skipton Health Services community integration manager Danni Trezise said it was lovely to see the residents engage, touch and feel.
“They are often different here to the way they are in the facility. You look at their smiles and how engaged they are in it and they really love it,” she said.
“Often we notice if they have dementia, once they have done activities like this during the day their behaviours are different when they return. They talk about it for days and days afterwards.
“They have also been to childcare centres and interacted with the kids which is really valuable for people who perhaps don’t see their families or don’t have little children around any more.
“That variety increases stimulation… It often gives them things to talk about when their families come, they can use that to engage with them and talk about the things that have happened.”
Aged care week runs from September 10 to 15. It is a recognition of the aged care nurses, healthcare professionals and volunteers throughout Victoria.
Ballarat Health Services will host the Together We Care: Building Capacity in Regional Aged Care forum on Friday.
The forum will help regional aged care providers increase their knowledge of best practice and further understand the challenges the aged care industry faces.