Residents at Westacre Nursing Home were treated to a visit by Mill Cottage Farm and their animals as part of a therapeutic initiative held at the home.
Westacre Nursing Home is based in Winchester and provides residential, residential dementia and nursing care, along with respite care. Mill Cottage Farm frequently visit the residents with a variety of animals, which has been occurring since 2007.
The visits have become a regular occurrence after the staff noticed a positive effect on the residents. Each visit from Mill Cottage Farm allows the residents to spend quality time with different animals including llamas, sheep, goats, piglets, rabbits and dogs.
International studies have revealed that interaction with animals has a positive effect on people with dementia – lowering blood pressure, easing anxiety, reducing loneliness and easing agitation.
The visits from Mill Cottage Farm, who are based in Alton, have seen a significant effect on the Westacre residents with varying stages of dementia. During the visits, residents show compelling reductions in symptoms caused by Dementia becoming more responsive, relaxed and focused.
Kelly Tansley, Activities Co-ordinator at Westacre Nursing Home, said:
“The effect that the animals have had on our residents over the years is absolutely amazing. We knew they’d enjoy the visits, but the animals are having a significant effect on the conditions of dementia. We often see a complete change in behaviour from our residents.”
Sarah Main, Owner of Mill Cottage Farm, said:
“It’s wonderful to see the residents faces light up when they see us arrive with the animals. We encourage a hands-on experience as this seems to be very therapeutic and enables residents to relive memories they’ve had with animals in the past.”
Westacre Nursing Home plan to continue the visits from Mill Cottage Farm, as well as continue with other activities they hold for the residents. Westacre often hold group reminiscence activities to help residents with their memory and have regular entertainers visit the home to perform.