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Christmas Comes Early to Care Home with Therapy Animal Visit

Therapy pony Blossom made a festive visit to Banstead-based maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, to interact with residents as part of an animal therapy session.

The visit, from Kingswood Shetland Ponies in Surrey was part of a regular Christmas therapy session to the maritime charity’s care home. It provides residents and tenants at the seafaring care home with the opportunity to spend time with animals such as Blossom and several guinea pigs and rabbits, which can reduce anxiety and help improve communication skills in the elderly residents.

Blossom is an 11-year-old Shetland pony and measures nine hands, normally spending her days eating hay and providing therapy sessions to people across Surrey.

The Society has more than 80 residents and tenants with a variety of needs. To support their individual care, the Society has a dedicated activities team that organises events and uses techniques such as therapy animals to help stimulate residents and reduce stress, which can help those living with dementia at The Royal Alfred’s Belvedere House care home.

Chief Executive of The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, said: “These kinds of activities are crucial for helping to reduce anxiety and loneliness – all of which are common in elderly people who may have lost a significant other or been faced with a big life change such as moving into a care home.

“Social interaction and stimulation brought about through activities such as therapy animal visits is key for our residents that may be bed-bound and find moving around the home difficult. It’s incredibly rewarding to see our elderly residents responding positively to the tailored care packages that we offer them.

“We provide daily activities at the home to benefit everyone, including music sessions, baking, creative arts and drawing along with trips out. But it has become somewhat of a Christmas tradition here at the Royal Alfred to organise animal therapy sessions around the festive season, as it’s something that brings such joy to the residents when they interact with the animals. Our activities team are fantastic at organising an array of daily events that help to inspire those that reside at the home.”