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Nursing home on the range

January 20, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Some seniors are opting to spend their later years on the homestead. Well, they're opting to live at the Gosling Creek Aged Care farm in Orange, Australia.

Gosling Creek is thought to be Australia's first purpose-built farm at a nursing home. It is run by one of the country's biggest providers, Allity Aged Care. The decision to start the farm came in part from vocal feedback, or rather doting, over Bowie, a 4-year-old Maltese terrier cross therapy dog.

"When we chatted to our residents when they first came into care, the two things they say they missed the most was their animals and their gardens," says Joanne Beldham, activity officer for Gosling Creek to Australian Broadcasting Corporation Central West.

Regulations prohibit residents from keeping their own animals with them in the nursing home. However, Gosling Greek has a small menagerie of specially-trained animals to give animal-loving residents a sense of their former home life. There's Bowie; Arabella, a Labrador puppy in therapy training; goats Grover and Gilbert; five chickens; and Indy, a miniature horse.

Animal behavior specialist Debbie Coleman will help train and monitor animal interactions with residents.

"What's really important to ageing and when people are admitted to residential aged care is that people continue to be themselves, and that there is a connectedness to what they have done previously and to the community in general," Coleman says.

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