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16 March 2023 | Aged Care

Hopping into happy hearts

Hopping into Happy Hearts

It’s not just man’s best friend, the dog, that can combat loneliness and boost your happy hormones. Cue the grey kangaroo joeys who bounced their way into Lutheran Services Orana Aged Care residents’ hearts on a recent visit.

With soft, strokable fur and the type of cuddle session that leaves you with oodles of the happy hormone oxytocin, the joeys were a big hit and are bound to visit again. Local wildlife carer xxx kindly brought in some of the kangaroos she helps to rehabilitate after they have been injured or orphaned.

Orana Aged Care resident Sandra White was thrilled with the wildlife encounter.

“I love every animal who visits,” she said.

Mrs White also regularly visits the horses who live in the paddock next to Orana.

“They give all of themselves and my visits to the horses gives me no end of pleasure,” she said. “Show them gentleness and we have a friend for life. (Kangaroos) Luna and Drew were so loving and cuddly and a joy to watch as they jumped around the room approaching people for pats and trying to get outside the circle. What a joy!”

Orana Aged Care Service Manager Kym Zischke said animals were a wonderful way to promote social interactions.

“Studies show that animals are a very effective type of therapy as well as being such a delight,” she said. “We have animals that visit regularly and you can see it instantly on residents’ faces – they chat more, they smile and they love the touch. Kangaroos are something a bit different to dogs and cats, so it was a nice experience, and the way people cuddled up to them really showed how much enjoyment they had.”

A study on social isolation in Geriatric Nursing (2014) supports Kym’s experience.

The study showed that interactions with animals meant aged care residents participated in longer and more in-depth conversations, increased their vigour and reduced fatigue.

Orana kangaroos Hopping into happy hearts

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