Residents at Churchfields Care Home in Oxfordshire were delighted to receive a visit from some cheeky guests.
Two squirrel monkeys, named Antonio and Tia, took a day out from their zoological home in Chipping Norton to visit residents at the home in Cassington.
Studies have shown that caring for an animal has proven health benefits. With this in mind, residents were able to pick up, cuddle and feed worms to the very lively furry monkeys.
Stephanie Eley, Manager at Churchfields Care Home, commented: “Residents and staff alike were enthralled by the monkeys, who were using the home as their playground.
“They were so friendly, and we know how beneficial animal therapy can be for older people, especially for those living with dementia.”
Residents at the care home regularly enjoy visits from animals, including ‘pat dogs’ and the star penguins that appeared in the local news last year.
Resident Muriel commented: “I was eager to ask the keepers about the age and names of the monkeys, and also what they ate. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn.” Eve added: “I couldn’t believe how agile they were, and I loved seeing them jumping about.”
Jim Clubb from Heythrop Zoological Gardens commented; “Our common squirrel monkeys are regular visitors to care homes. We have been told by both specialist therapists and the staff at these homes that residents/patients benefit immensely from the visits.
“Likewise, we have seen nothing but positive results with our squirrel monkeys. They are naturally intelligent and social animals that live in their large multi-generation captive-bred breeding colony back at our zoo.
“Being trained animals they are very familiar with human beings and interact with them on a daily basis throughout their day as well as performing their natural behaviours in their specially constructed homes. Animal training provides mental stimulation and promotes more confidence in zoo animals.
“Visits to these homes provides a natural extension and variation in their enrichment programmes.”