The Pets and Aged Care Steering Group, Chaired by Jan Phillips, is a voluntary community group. It was formed as a direct outcome of a Canberra community conversation in 2012 on pets and aged care, hosted by Mary Porter AM MLA. It includes an aged care operator, aged care volunteers, vets, animal welfare and pet rescue organizations, an animal research foundation, pet behaviorists and pet owners.

The Steering Group promotes the significant benefits for older Australians of being able to continue living with their pets in various forms of aged accommodation - retirement villages, hostels, independent living units and low care areas of nursing homes - and when ageing at home. It encourages local community discussions on this issue.

A priority is encouraging aged care guides and websites, and other relevant information sources for older Australians, to provide information about aged accommodation that allows people to live alongside their pets, although recognizing pets won't be appropriate in all circumstances.

The Steering Group offers practical support for change. It organized the 2012 workshop on designing pet-friendly aged accommodation; and is developing guidance about implementing pet-friendly aged accommodation including managing health, veterinary and animal welfare issues. Other initiatives are planned.

For those ageing at home, a proposal was developed to deliver pet support to low income ACT residents, 65 years and over who are frail, ill and/or incapacitated and unable to readily access care for their pets; and to assist these pet owners when transitioning to higher care. The Steering Group is campaigning for pet support to become one of the standard services offered to HACC clients in "consumer directed" home care packages.

For more information contact Jan Phillips on 0412 411 424

Steering Group Membership

The Steering Group has produced a flyer for ACT residents about options in pet-friendly aged accommodation. Information from the flyer is below.