Care home buzzing after mood-busting mini donkeys visit for cuddles
PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 December 2019
People living at a Suffolk care home have had their spirits lifted – thanks to two mood-boosting miniature donkeys.
The animals were invited along to meet the residents as part of a therapy visit to help improve their wellbeing, and staff were delighted and amazed with the impact.
The two donkeys, mum and daughter Bo Peep and Millie won the hearts of the residents of Glebe House Care Home at Hollesley with everyone keen to stroke and cuddle the creatures and spend time with them.
Trish Middleton, manager of the care home and who organised the visit, said: "Animal therapy has lots of health benefits for older people, physical, mental and emotional.
"For some of our residents it seemed to have a calming effect, helping them to relax and feel happy.
"The home was buzzing with excitement during and after the visit, and many of the residents enjoyed spending time with the donkeys and stroking them."
For one resident, Keith Sangster, aged 77, the mini donkeys had a "remarkable" affect, said Trish.
She said: "Keith is living with dementia and doesn't often like to join in with activities, so it was just lovely to see him enjoying stroking one of the donkeys and even having a cuddle.
"Doris, who also has dementia, was a little reluctant at first but after seeing the other residents interact with Millie and Bo Peep, she joined in and had a huge smile on her face.
"The visit really stimulated the residents, there was lots of conversation and it brought residents who are usually quiet out of themselves, hours later there was still a lot of chatter about the experience."
Resident Georgina Bendon, aged 89, likes to spend most of her time in her room, but wanted to come downstairs to see the donkeys, while 88-year-old Shirley Clarke even asked for one of the donkeys to visit her in her room.
Sarah McPherson, owner of Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, or Mini Donks as it's more commonly known, has been a family carer for two parents with dementia, and knows firsthand how stress can be relieved by spending time with animals.
She said: "We visit anywhere where a mood-boosting donkey visit would help people with their wellbeing.
"Bo Peep has a special feeling for people who are poorly or who need a bit of a boost, her daughter Millie is our youngest donkey and is an absolute sweetheart. She started going out on therapy visits when she was three months old."
The mini donks visit is one of a wide range of activities delivered by the 20-bed residential care home to stimulate residents and improve their wellbeing.