Two friendly alpacas called Alex and Bethany surprised residents on Friday afternoon at The Oaks Care Home in Newtown, Powys.
The woolly visitors popped into the home to meet residents, joining them at afternoon tea in the lounge and even popping up in the lift to see residents in their rooms on the top floor.
The visit was arranged by activities coordinator Izzy Titley and Daniel Hart, the new Registered Manager of The Oaks, who is on a mission to bring exciting new ideas to the daily lives of people living in a care home.
Alpaca Bethany was introduced to one of the home’s carers and namesake Bethan who said: “It made my day to give Bethany a big hug.”
Both alpacas took a trip up in the lift to visit 100-year-old resident Frances Williams in her bedroom. She said: “Oh my gosh. What a shock! I was just watching afternoon television when they walked in. It was lovely to stroke them.”
Resident Sylvia Hughes, 79, giggled: “Oh my lord I’ve seen it all now! You have absolutely made my day.”
Daniel Hart, 42, who has worked in the care sector for 20 years, said: “We have a great team at The Oaks and we love coming up with new and unusual ideas to brighten up the lives of our residents.
“Some of our residents mentioned that they’d love a trip to Chester Zoo but we thought it would be more fun to bring the animals to them. The alpacas were a big hit and it was wonderful to see the look on everyone’s faces when they arrived.
“I believe it’s so important for our residents to have a full and interesting life and we’ve got bags of creative ideas including a schedule of events to get them out into the heart of the community.
“We’re fixing trips to the local pub, shopping visits so they can buy treats for their loved ones, cinema and theatre outings and we’re even planning to go to the local bingo hall. We’re hoping they bump into people they know and will get a lot out of doing normal things.”
Activities coordinator Izzy Titley said: “I’m leaving The Oaks in a few weeks to travel round the world and I wanted to pull some final tricks out of my hat to surprise the residents. I told them we were just having our usual Friday afternoon bingo!
“They met Digby the dog at Christmas and that was brilliant pet therapy but we’ve stepped it up bringing alpacas into the home. All the residents love animals and it was lovely that the alpacas were free to walk around the home and interact with everyone.”
The Huacaya alpacas are part of a therapeutic team of seven alpacas from Admirals View Alpacas in Shropshire, which is run by Sarah Tickle.
Sarah Tickle said: “Alpacas are very friendly animals and they loved their visit to The Oaks Care Home. They’re comfortable in the lift so even residents on different floors didn’t miss out on their visit.”