Abbeyfield enriches lives of our residents with pets


abbeyfield using pets to enhance residents livesWe can all feel the benefits of interacting with animals; there’s nothing quite like curling up on the sofa with your cat after a hard day’s work, taking the dog out for a brisk morning walk or watching your python gobble down a fresh rat. 

For older people in particular, these benefits increase tenfold. Pets can not only provide them with companionship but a host of tangible health improvements too; from lower blood pressure, to the release of serotonin and a reduction of anxiety and agitation for those living with dementia.

Furthermore, one research paper into pet-facilitated therapy found lots of evidence that older people experience mental, physical and social improvements through animal interaction.

That’s why we're using animal interaction throughout the month of May to enhance and enrich the lives of our residents and older people in local communities.

abbeyfield residents enjoying pet monthOur houses and homes up and down the UK will be opening their doors as part of Abbeyfield Golden Moments programme to enrich the lives of older people everywhere. Abbeyfield houses and homes will host a whole variety of animal events, with all creatures great and small welcomed in with open arms. From cats and dogs, to lizards and frogs, to sheep and goats and alpacas.

Getting into the spirit of Pet Month early was Abbeyfield’s Pratt House in Amersham when the conservatory was turned into an impromptu petting zoo.

An entire animal menagerie came to visit and residents, staff and volunteers and guests gathered to pet, stroke and play with ferrets, geese, alpacas, rabbits and piglets.

Simon Meredith, Care Home Manager at Abbeyfield’s Pratt House, said: “Whilst fun was clearly had by all, I was particularly pleased to see the animals having a therapeutic effect on some of my residents. One gentleman in particular had been experiencing anxiety issues and his daughters were concerned that he was isolating himself in his room.

“It was a great pleasure to watch him join in the animal antics and the smile of enjoyment and contentment alongside conversation with staff and volunteers was a real step forward.”

abbeyfield pet month enriching lives of older peopleBeryl Hunter, a resident from Abbeyfield’s nearby Wendover house who had made the trip over to see some piglets, said: “It was a truly lovely experience and one I would definitely do again. I have always had a soft spot for pigs and when it fell asleep in my arms I was honestly so happy. No more bacon sarnies for me.”

Pet Month is part of Abbeyfield’s national Golden Moments programme, which seeks to enrich the lives of older people through special events, activities and initiatives that foster lasting ties and friendships within local communities.


Interacting with Animals is one way that Abbeyfield hopes to reach out with by opening up its homes to older people in need of companionship so they can chat, make new friends, share their experiences, and enjoy light-hearted, fun filled moments together.

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