Smuggler is the first pet at Great Oaks and was donated to the care home by Eve, a nurse from Hamble Heights care home. Hamble Heights is also managed by Encore Care Homes, with Great Oaks being the latest addition to the established family of care homes.
Residents were given the opportunity to name the new budgie, and Smuggler won by a unanimous decision. Smuggler has now been introduced as part of Great Oaks’ pet therapy sessions, organised by activities manager, Sue Goktas. Residents are also visited by sibling Shih Tzus, Frankie and Harry, as well an array of animals brought in by The Creature Teachers who specialise in facilitating this special experience in care homes.
Sue Goktas, activities manager of Great Oaks, said: ‘‘We believe that visits from our furry friends have a really positive impact on our residents’ wellbeing, especially those living with dementia. We have seen that having a pet for company can trigger positive memories for our residents, as well as evoking a feeling of calm. Research shows that holding and petting the animals can lower the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and really boost your mood.
‘‘Our residents love having a cuddle with the various animals that come to visit, and it is so lovely that Smuggler is now a permanent member of the Great Oaks family, as it means that they are able to interact with him on a daily basis if they wish to.’’
Daily activities are planned at Great Oaks by the dedicated activities manager who works hard to ensure that a variety of engaging activities are organised for residents to be involved with. Entertainers are also regularly invited into the home for dance and music sessions. The home aims to boost each resident’s wellbeing and quality of life.