Nursing home receives visit from alpaca

Shandelle Palmer with alpaca Strudel at Blue Wave Living

A Woy Woy aged care provider has hosted a visit from an alpaca after the granddaughter of a resident asked to show her pet to her grandmother.
Ms Shandelle Palmer said she decided to drop in to Blue Wave Living to visit her grandmother with her alpaca, Strudel, on April 29.
“Nan has heard so much about Strudel but she’s never had the chance to meet him and I felt it was time to change that,” she said.
Ms Palmer said, after some initial hesitation, staff allowed her to take Strudel into her grandmother’s room for their first meeting.
“It was really touching.
“Nan is a big knitter and she’s always talked about Strudel and his coat and how she’d like to meet him so I’m glad we were allowed in,” Ms Palmer said.
According to Ms Palmer, after witnessing her grandmother’s response to Strudel and the alpaca’s excellent behavior, staff asked Ms Palmer if she’d be comfortable taking Strudel to visit other residents’ rooms.
Ms Palmer said their room visit quickly turned into a tour of the facility including BlueWave’s dementia ward.
“They say music and animals always have a profound effect on people living with dementia and I got to see that firsthand,” Ms Palmer said.
After the successful visit, Ms Palmer said she was now considering whether Strudel had a future as a therapy animal.
“It’s definitely something I’m interested in pursuing.
“I’d taken Strudel to a local playgroup back in Cessnock prior to the visit but this was the first time we’ve ever gone to an aged care facility but the impact was huge.
“The residents just lit up.
“It was great to see,” she said.
During her visit to the Peninsula, Ms Palmer also took Strudel on a trip to Ettalong Beach.
“It was a weekend of firsts for Strudel: his first visit to an aged care facility and his first ever trip to the beach.
“He absolutely loved it and so many residents stopped us to say hello and to take a photo,” Ms Palmer said.
Ms Palmer said Strudel could be returning to the Peninsula.
“My mum lives in the area and nan’s at BlueWave so it’s definitely possible, but my first consideration has to be Strudel’s wellbeing,” she said.

Interview (Dilon Luke), 17 May 2019
Shandelle Palmer, Cessnock

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