This is one of the innovations John Engeler, executive manager, Property and Assets, at SummitCare, is most proud about the organisation’s brand new home at Baulkham Hills.
The state-of-the-art 186-suite home has been designed to feel spacious, comfortable and homely, and for many Australians that means the ability to bring their pet with them.
“Australians love their pets. We have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and as a dog owner myself I know how pets are very much a part of our lives and our families,” he said. “SummitCare Baulkham Hills has a number of ground floor and balcony suites spacious enough to accommodate cats, small dogs and birds. Like any residential building, we need to follow the local council’s code, and this does mean there are some restrictions around the size and type of pets.”
As a leading aged care provider, SummitCare has long recognised the value of pets in the lives of older people, and many of its homes offer regular visits throughout the week from organisations such as Delta Dogs.
“Residents really benefit from spending time with animals. Pets make such a big difference to a person’s wellbeing and happiness,” said Carla Beheram, general manager, Care and Wellbeing Services. “They boost physical health, with many studies showing spending time with a pet can help to lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and release endorphins to calm the mind."
Research indicates they also motivate us to stay healthy, and older adults who spend time with animals on a regular basis tend to be healthier, happier and more energetic.
Pets at SummitCare Baulkham Hills will be allowed in a selection of residents’ suites with balconies and some outdoor common areas. Carla said, “We have to recognise and understand that animals aren’t for everyone and some residents may have allergies, so there will be allocated internal and external spaces throughout the home.”
Carla explained that not all 186 suites can accommodate pets so it is recommended people talk to the team at SummitCare Baulkham Hills to find the right space for their needs. The home offers a wide range of accommodation with flexible living spaces, including private single suites with oversized ensuite bathrooms and some with access to private balconies. Larger suites and one bedroom superior suites are also available for couples who want to stay together or those who would like extra space. The interiors capture the luxurious feeling of a beautiful hotel and incorporate relaxing communal living areas where residents gather with others, socialise and entertain, and peaceful nooks for quieter moments. 
In addition to pets living at SummitCare Baulkham Hills, family members and friends are welcome to bring pets to visit residents, and the home also arranges regular pet therapy days.
The home features spectacular outdoor areas and gardens, including a stunning rooftop area, and has an aviary that will over time house a wide variety of birds.