Residents at Millway House in Andover have enjoyed a visit from a rather special guest this week – a donkey called Charlie.
The furry visitor, from Kelly’s Donkeys, travelled from his home in Somerset to meet people staying at the nurse-led care home in Weyhill, and everyone couldn’t wait to lavish the loveable animal with attention.
Used to trotting into care homes in the area for animal therapy sessions, Charlie was taken around Millway to interact with residents. He even visited each of the home’s three floors, via the lift, to say hello to those who are either bed bound or were reluctant to leave their rooms.
‘Animal therapy’ refers to the use of animals to help people with specific physical or mental health conditions, and it has become more and more popular in care homes over recent years. Claire Lousteau, Home Manager at Millway House, says the benefits for her residents, are huge.
She said: “Interaction with different animals helps stimulate our residents’ brains and helps to keep them mentally active and engaged. Animal therapy also helps to decrease agitated behaviours of residents who have dementia, as it helps them to remember and talk about past pets and animal experiences.
“Thanks go to Kelly for bringing the lovely Charlie along today – it was a special treat for all of us here.”
Kelly Baker, owner of Kelly’s Donkeys, said their visits are all about providing residents with a day to remember.
She said: “Our assisted-therapy donkeys are incredible, and the response they receive is truly emotional. Many elderly residents have done so much in their lives, yet having a donkey in their bedroom is normally a lifetime first.
“Our donkeys are selected based upon their natural temperaments. They are also trained to know how to handle working inside, being around wheelchairs, walking on different surfaces, using lifts and stairs, reversing out of bedrooms in tight spaces and standing quietly whilst surrounded by vulnerable people.
“We really enjoyed our visit to Millway today, and it was wonderful to see so many smiles for Charlie.”
Millway House is part of Sears Healthcare and CEO Richard Adams is pleased to hear that its residents have had the opportunity to benefit from this special session.
He said: “At Millway House, we are a nurse-led care home, so our approach focuses on providing a home from home for our residents while we meet their healthcare needs. It is heart-warming to hear that Charlie’s visit had such a big impact here.”