Roxy makes BUPA Clayton aged care facility feel like a home

BUPA Clayton General Manager Patrick Cullen tells how Roxy touches the lives of everyone at BUPA Clayton, a pet friendly aged care home in Victoria.
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BUPA Clayton home in Melbourne is a modern residential aged care facility set within a lively community and situated within walking distance of a number of amenities, such as a library, supermarket and hospital.

“The home has beautiful tranquil gardens, covered outdoor courtyards, various communal areas and activity rooms, including a library and arts and crafts centre, and a secure dementia support area. The icing on the cake - BUPA Clayton home is pet friendly, committed to helping residents to engage with pets and animals if they wish.

Many people see pets as being part of their family and for this reason BUPA Clayton is a pet friendly home, allowing pets to visit and to potentially allow residents to bring in their pets permanently into the care home.

Having worked with BUPA Aged Care for nearly seven years, I understand well the positive effect that animal interaction can have on older people. Pets can provide companionship, comfort and love.

Contact with pets on a regular basis has been shown to improve quality of life, by offsetting loneliness, helplessness and boredom. They can provide a simple interactive pleasure, a focus for attention that is neither threatening nor demanding, allowing residents to respond in their own way.

BUPA Clayton is also frequented by nearby Myuna Farm, which provides an opportunity for residents to interact with farm animals. Then there’s Roxy, a 7-year-old Irish Terrier whose sole purpose is to spread joy, comfort and companionship to residents in the home nearly every day of the week.

Roxy is a brave, funny and affectionate dog. I adopted Roxy after her owner passed away at BUPA Windsor where I previously worked as the General Manager.

I was lucky enough to build a strong relationship with Roxy’s owner over our love of Irish Terriers, as I previously had three. The Irish Terrier is a heritage terrier, the oldest of Terrier breeds. Roxy is an excellent example - calm and sweet with children and residents, alert and intelligent with courage and confidence. She makes for an excellent therapy dog, as she maintains eye contact and leans into those who pet her.

A typical day for Roxy would begin with a round of morning greetings followed by a walk with a resident up to the Clayton shops and sometimes in the afternoon also. She also joins in when the children from the home’s intergenerational program come to visit once a week. She loves kids.

Roxy sometimes spends one on one time with residents in their room for comfort or companionship. She has a few friends also in our Dementia Support Community who she visits most days.

It’s clear to many people what a positive impact Roxy has on residents and staff at Clayton. Roxy makes BUPA Clayton feel like a home. She makes people laugh, gives comfort, reduces anxiety and keeps things interesting.

If you were to ask Roxy what she thought about BUPA Clayton home, I believe she would say “I love you all very much. I love coming here every day because you sneak me little snacks and give me lots of pats. Also, I want to hunt those cats that live next door and walk past the reception door!”

I believe pets need to be adopted across the aged care industry. Pets have given our residents such joy and they also boost staff morale to have a pet in the care home. Some staff take Roxy for a walk if they feel stressed. She really is a fantastic dog and a great addition to our home.

Aged care homes should provide the opportunity for residents to bring pets with them. It is so traumatic to separate from a pet and being able to bring their fury companion adds such comfort. I have seen this firsthand.”

Patrick , VIC

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