It may have been national Love Your Pet Day on 20th February, but residents in Care UK homes love animals all-year-round. Many of our care homes have their own pets that residents enjoy caring for, and animals of all varieties are often popping in for a visit.
Animals are enormously important to many residents’ wellbeing: the therapeutic effects of stroking and interacting with them are well-known, and we often find residents who are living with dementia, and whose communication may be limited, light up and chat happily when they’re stroking a rabbit, dog or cat. Residents may also have worked with, or cared for, animals as part of their working life, so animals can play a key part in enabling them to recall happy memories.
Residents love their pets
At Tor-Na-Dee in Aberdeen, residents care for the home’s chickens, which often roam freely in the gardens. Some of the residents used to live or work on farms and caring for the animals helps to give them a sense of purpose while reconnecting with these experiences.
Clara Court, our ‘outstanding’ home in Maidenhead, in Berkshire, has two pet rabbits, plus a very beautiful resident cat called Bentley, whom residents adore. Border collie, Sam, is Canine Relations Manager, at Smyth Lodge, and Sinbad the lurcher holds the same title at Mildenhall Lodge.
Residents across Care UK homes thoroughly enjoy participating in RSPB’s Birdwatch, making bird treats and painting birdfeeders before hanging them out in their gardens and counting the different feathered visitors. At Sandfields in Cheltenham, birds of prey group, Walks with Hawks, made a visit. We love this photo of a resident from Field Lodge in St Ives hanging out her homemade bird treats.
At home with animals
Our homes regularly invite friendly animals over to say hello and have a cuddle with residents. The regular Cuddle Club visits to Harrier Lodge in Whitstable have become the highlight of the home’s calendar, when around eight four-legged friends visit and out-do each other in cuteness.
Recently Daisy, the Pets as Therapy dog brightened everyone’s day with her regular visit to Kings Court in Barnard Castle. Betty, a 94-year-old resident, couldn’t resist having a cuddle. Residents also like taking Daisy out for a walk around town.
A walk on the wild side
Residents love getting up close to more unusual animals as well. Skylark House residents have been bonding with friendly snakes, rabbits and chinchillas, while residents of Ferndown Manor have recently played host to ferrets and bearded dragons.
And at Highmarket House, when a resident had a wish to meet some penguins, the team made it happen. In fact, when these friendly flippered friends came for a visit, it made it to the BBC and ITV news.
It’s quite common to meet a miniature pony and its handler walking the corridors of a Care UK home. These gentle creatures, with their supremely soft manes are irresistibly stroke-able and always create a buzz wherever they go. The miniature Shetlands who visited residents at Edinburgh’s Cairdean House in January even delivered kisses as well as cuddles!
Many Care UK residents have worked with, owned, or ridden, horses in their earlier lives, or enjoy a horse-related hobby. When Audrey, a resident of Skylark House, wanted to do something special for her 100th birthday, the team organised for her to have a riding lesson – the first time she’d been on a horse in 60 years.