RECENTLY, residents at Prom Country Aged Care were treated to a very special visitor.
Jacksons’ Oliver, a 10 year old Strawberry Roan Quarter horse owned by staff member Margaret Roach, dropped by to receive some extra attention from residents including lots of pats and even a kiss on the nose from resident Mary Slater.
Here at Prom Country Aged Care we strive to provide our residents with the holistic care that they need and deserve, and our trained staff in Leisure and Health are constantly working hard to research and come up with ideas to achieve this.
Pet therapy plays a very important role in many ways and has amazing benefits for each individual resident. Some of these benefits include sensory, touch, feel and smell and as we all know there is nothing more rewarding than the loving response from an animal, whether it be a fluffy dog that we can wrap our arms and hands around, a bird that whistles back to us when we talk to it, or in this case a horse who just loves affection.
Other benefits of pet therapy give our Leisure and Health staff the opportunity to assess how residents respond to this type of activity. During the visit from Ollie, Margaret was able to observe a change in residents’ body language, for example: a resident who displays difficulty in expressing words and putting sentences together suddenly became very calm as she stroked the Horse’s nose and softly spoke to him.
Being an aged care facility in the country, the majority of our residents are off the land and grew up in an era where they rode their ponies to and from school, and having a visit from Ollie gave residents the opportunity to smell that familiar horsy smell and touch the soft hair as they stroked Ollies’ neck, something they haven’t done for a long time.
Residents Robbie O’Brian and Mary Slater, pictured with Ollie and Margaret, expressed much joy and pleasure as they both reminisced of their past life spent with horses. Mary in fact has a photo in her room of herself as a young teenager riding her big black horse which is doing a full rear, no bridle or saddle on her horse, just Mary holding onto a clump of mane.
Ollie has a lovely relaxed nature and temperament and therefore was perfect for the role he was asked to participate in, as he greeted residents in the car park and entrance to the foyer as well as walking up to the glass windows so other residents could view him.