A Shropshire care provider has welcomed some new residents to its homes – a brood of chickens that are helping to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
Coverage Care has introduced a flock of feathered friends at Barleyfields House in Shrewsbury, and at Lightmoor View, in Telford, to stimulate and engage residents, especially those with dementia.
The scheme is now being rolled out across its other homes across Shropshire.
The project started with the introduction of a brood of Speckled Pekin chicks – a miniature breed known for its friendly disposition and love of being handled, making it ideal for older people and those with dementia.
Residents help to feed and look after them and collect the eggs, which are then used in the home’s kitchen
The chickens are the latest animals to be welcomed at Coverage Care homes in the county. It already encourages families to bring in their pets and also organises visits from donkeys, ‘pat a dog’, guinea pigs, and birds to interest the residents.
David Coull, chief executive of Coverage Care, said: “Pets and companion animals in residential homes bring great benefits to elderly residents and people with learning disabilities.
“It has also been proven in many research reports that people suffering with dementia related conditions benefit from the presence of animals. It can a great distraction and help to reduce anxiety as well as giving families and visitors something to focus on.
“Providing both outdoor activities and a chance to interact with animals offers a stimulating environment that can reduce depression and loneliness, and gives people an increased sense of wellbeing, especially those living with dementia.
“There will be some residents in our homes who have kept chickens or worked around animals and this could stir up memories which promote lovely reminiscence discussions.”
A similar scheme called Henpower, which sees residents in care homes in the north of the country taking hens to other care homes and primary schools, was shortlisted for its work tackling loneliness in the health category of the 2014 National Lottery awards.