Our Carer at Birchwood Heights faced her fears to give residents the experience of a lifetime
In an innovative and heartwarming activity, Birchwood Heights Care Home has embarked on a unique therapeutic journey, welcoming owls into their community to provide a different kind of comfort and companionship for their residents.
By introducing this novel form of pet therapy into their bespoke lifestyle programme, these majestic birds of prey have proven to be a source of solace and joy for the residents, enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life.
At the same time, Marie, our Carer, has decided to use this opportunity to face her fears and see if she can overcome her phobia with the support of her beloved residents; she says: “I have a fear of birds and was not looking forward to this visit at all when Theresa, my Manager, said they would be visiting us. However, once I’d seen the residents interacting with the birds, I realised how gentle the birds were, and I felt inspired to hold and stroke the birds, which was a wonderful experience!
The fear of them flapping their wings and flying at me still remained with me though while I held the birds, but I am pleased that I had the opportunity to hold the birds like this. I am looking forward to their next visit!”
It’s well-documented that interactions with animals can have a profound impact on human emotions and mental health. With their charismatic presence, owls bring an element of fascination to the lives of residents at the home.
Residents have embraced the opportunity to connect with these feathered therapists who visited the home as part of a pet therapy initiative. The soothing presence of the owls has been particularly beneficial to those living with dementia, offering a unique form of cognitive stimulation and sensory engagement.
Resident Mavis Simpson, 94, was pleased to be able to enjoy a link with nature; she said: “I love birds, and I’ve always been a fan of the outdoors, and it’s so invigorating to feel connected to nature. I didn’t expect to be holding an owl today, that’s for sure! My family won’t believe it when I tell them what I’ve been doing!”
The flying visits have been met with enthusiasm from residents, their families, and the care home team. Harry Garston, Manager at Birchwood Heights, said: “We’re thrilled to witness the transformative effect the owls have had on our residents. It’s heartwarming to see smiles on their faces, and it shows our commitment to providing the best possible care.”
Find out more about our exceptional lifestyles at Birchwood Heights.