ANIMALS are thought to have a calming effect, to guard against depression and other mental health issues, and can often be seen in aged care facilities.
On St Patrick's Day, a variety of animals from the Gold Coast charity Harmony Hooves Healing Hearts met up with elderly clients from Liberty Community Connect at Nerang.
Murphy the mule, a pony, ducklings, goats, chickens and dogs were among the visitors.
Diversional therapist Katrina Vuori believes that animals provide an emotional link for Liberty's clients.
"Many elderly in the community have to give up their animals when they go into care and this can create a great deal of emotional trauma, so we have always found incorporating animals in our programs is greatly appreciated," she said.
"A part of our diversional therapy program is also that we provide cultural celebrations from all over the world.
"St Paddy's is a regular event because it is so well-known and we often have clients with Irish heritage.
"We celebrate cultural celebrations using music, food, language, humour, traditions and traditional dress."
Overall the event went very well, Katrina said, with lots of positive feedback.
Coming up on the Liberty Community Connect calendar is Carer Pamper Day on June 7, respite discovery tours on April 3, Wellness Week on April 18 and National Volunteers Week on May 8.
Inquiries to 5578 1668.