Therapy Farm the first of its kind for Nursing Home
Imagine having lived on a farm or in a home with a garden and animals for much of your life and then one day you find yourself, in your golden years, in a nursing or retirement home. Those daily things you loved doing so much such as interacting with a pet or spending time pottering in your garden are suddenly no longer available to you. Well, this won’t be the case at Orange’s Gosling Creek Aged Care facility, which has just announced a new initiative to build a small farm on a 2.5 acre section of the home’s site. Gosling Farm, Australia’s first purpose built farm and garden for Aged Care residents, will house a number of pet therapy animals including a miniature horse, chickens and goats, and will have raised vegetable gardens complete with compost bins, garden benches, water tanks and insect hotels (these are awesome by the way, get on to google and check some out).
It is well known and scientifically proven that interaction with a gentle, friendly pet can have significant benefits to ones physical and mental health wellbeing. According to Paws For People, a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to provide elders, children and people with disabilities visits with pets, the benefits are boundless, including improving cardiovascular health; lowering blood pressure; and releasing of endorphins that have a calming effect to name a few. Benefits to ones mental health are many as well, including increasing socialisation and decreasing feelings of social isolation and loneliness; reducing boredom; and lowering anxiety. The benefits of gardening for older people have also been well documented over the years and share many joint benefits with pet therapy. It is also an enjoyable form of exercise which helps mobility and flexibility; encourages the use of all motor skills; and helps prevent diseases like osteoporosis. All round having both access to animals and a farm garden is no doubt great for the body and soul.
Local community services provider CareWest will partner with Allity’s Gosling Creek Aged Care facility on the project, with participants from the organisations Disability Services Active Participation Program assisting with the building and running of the farm. This is a great partnership offering so much to the aged residents and CareWest participants alike.
As with many community-based projects like this, help and assistance from the community is required to see it reach fruition. Anyone wishing to donate any products, services or their time to help build components of the farm should contact Joanne Beldham and Kim Dillon at Gosling Creek Aged Care on (02) 6369 9800. Have a look at some local TV coverage of this wonderful initiative on Prime 7 Therapy farm for Orange