Residents at Woodlands Court, the Minster-run care home in Wigan, have enjoyed meeting a diverse range of exotic animals as part of a specially arranged visit from animal experience facilitator ‘Home Safari’.
The experience was organised by staff at Woodlands Court and involved Home Safari bringing several exotic animals into the care home. The animals included a tortoise, a hedgehog, a bearded dragon lizard, a giant rabbit, a possum and a meerkat called Mikey.
Residents learned about the animals, where the species originate from and what they like to eat. Residents were also given the opportunity to handle and feed some of the animals. While most of the creatures were generally well-behaved, Mikey the meerkat had to be kept on a lead because he kept running around the room in which the visit took place.
Sharon Gravenell, activities coordinator at Woodland Court, said: “The residents absolutely loved the Home Safari visit. I thought at least a few people might be a bit scared of the animals, but the response was entirely positive. The activity brought the residents together and there was lots of laughter.”
Animal assisted therapy (AAT); when people interact with animals for therapeutic purposes, is widely recognised by health professionals to have both mental and physical health benefits for older people and people with health problems.