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Walks with purpose: volunteers help care for older adults’ pooches

The dog days aren’t over for older City of Charles Sturt residents.

To support and assist older people in maintaining a relationship with their furry friend, the city’s Community Care team launched the Companion Animal Project.

The team said: “Pets have been shown to greatly increase the quality of life for older people by providing companionship, comfort and social connections that result in better physical and emotional health. Therefore, making sure this relationship is not lost because the older person is unable to care for their pet any longer is the major goal of the project.”

Under the initiative, coordinators match volunteers with suitable dogs that may not be getting the exercise they need.

Volunteers spend at least one hour per week with the pooch and in that time also get to know the client, providing people who may not be part of social groups or receive any other support services an opportunity to interact with someone new.

Aged Care Insite sat down with team leader Deb Whetstone to find out how the project got off the ground and how easy it would be for other cities to roll out.

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