When residents from Holcroft Grange, the CLS-run care home in Culcheth, Warrington, visited a donkey sanctuary, it quickly became clear that it was not a one-time trip. After much deliberating, the residents decided that Cocoa the donkey was in need of some extra help, and so they asked whether the home could adopt her. Cocoa now receives regular support, and visits, from residents at Holcroft Grange, who are delighted with their new friend!
Two carers from Holcroft Grange took nine residents to the sanctuary in Manchester, where ill, neglected, and homeless donkeys are taken in, nursed back to health, and cared for. Residents and staff alike were moved to tears by the stories of how some of the donkeys came to be at the sanctuary.
However, the day was by no means a sad occasion. The visit ended with a lovely picnic in the blistering summer sunshine, and the residents were given the chance to get up close and personal with several of the more sociable animals, including Cocoa! One resident, 95-year old Edna Daintith (pictured), seemed to make very good friends with Cocoa during her time at the sanctuary.
Nicola Newens, Activity Co-Ordinator at Holcroft Grange, commented on the visit: “The trip to the donkey sanctuary brought a tear to my eye. The residents fell completely in love with the donkeys, and they made them all so happy – seeing them all bonding over these brave rescued animals was too much for me!”
Shirley Paton, Home Manager of Holcroft Grange, also commented: “Animal interaction is incredibly beneficial for older people, particularly those who are struggling with mobility, or have become more withdrawn in later life. I am thrilled that the residents took so much joy from visiting the donkeys. Having adopted Cocoa, we can now go and visit her on a regular basis, which will be great for keeping the residents active and engaged.”
Studies have repeatedly shown that regular animal interaction has a positive impact on mental health in older people. This effect is particularly pronounced in people already living with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.