Prior to COVID-19, older Australians already faced higher risks of loneliness than other age groups, but those with pets are coping better with social restrictions with their furry pals by their side.
Ingenia Gardens Bathurst resident Rhonda Edwards said she had formed a strong and unbreakable bond with her 7 ½-year-old Shih Tzu, Clyde, who has become an integral part of her life.
“He is a wonderful companion. My husband and I used to have another dog called Bonnie who passed away at 18 years, now my husband is in care, so it’s just me and Clyde here at Ingenia Gardens.
“Animals are such wonderful creatures and deserve the very best – they help you through grief and bring such emotional benefits and support, especially during times like the pandemic.”
Clyde is one of the many pets at Ingenia Gardens Bathurst. Bathurst Community Manager Jo Elms said the residents treated their pets like family and that being a pet-friendly community that offered a leash-free area was a highlight of the community.
“The furry residents of our community bring so much joy, love, companionship,” Ms Elms said.
“Having pets around is very therapeutic and a great way for our residents to maintain good mental health – they’ve been more important than ever over the 18 months.”
Ninety percent of Ingenia Gardens residents are widowed, separated, divorced or single, highlighting the importance of the connection and support that pets can bring.