Enriching the lives of older people with pets

Abbeyfield houses and homes will host a whole variety of animal themed events to celebrate Pet Month, with all creatures great and small welcomed in with open arms.

We 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.

alpacas visiting their local care home

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.

Celebrating National Pet Month 2017

Throughout the month, Abbeyfield houses and homes will host a whole variety of animal themed 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.

pratt house residents enjoy animal interaction

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.

“Whilst fun was clearly had by all, I was particularly pleased to see the animals having a therapeutic effect on some of my residents.” said Simon Meredith, Care Home Manager. “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.”

Beryl 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.”

Interacting with Animals is one way that Abbeyfield hopes to reach out 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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