Residents at RMBI Care Co. Home Devonshire Court, in Oadby, have recently enjoyed a friendly visit from a wide range of exotic creatures, including a tortoise, a fluffy rabbit, a, a hamster, and a millipede.
The residents were astonished and delighted to meet the animals, who were brought in by a specialist from Animal Interaction, an organisation that promotes animal education and animal therapy. Residents had the opportunity to learn interesting facts about the animals’ habitats, diets and welfare.
Taking part in this activity, resident Rita Clubberley was amazed when she held a millipede. She said: “I was most surprised by the feel of the millipede’s legs crawling on my arm. I have to say, it was a little ticklish.”
Resident Clive Reeves took the chance to stroke a baby tortoise. He said: “The tortoise was so small but was friendly and calm. I enjoyed stroking it.”
The benefits of spending time with animals for older people are immense. Research has shown that having something to pet or touch can result in lower blood pressure, better heart rate and reduced stress. Pets can provide emotional stability during stressful situations, helping to reduce anxiety and depression.
Fiona Collins, one of Devonshire Court’s Activities Coordinators, said: “It was really lovely to see the residents’ faces light up when these animals came in. They brought joy to our residents, boosted their mood and encouraged social interaction.”