A Kent care home has made one of its residents’ dreams come true by welcoming friendly alpacas to the home as part of its ‘Together-We-Can’ initiative, which aims to fulfil the wishes of its residents, visitors, and employees.
Fairways Care Home, a branch of ACI Care that specialises in residential, respite and dementia care, welcomed Alpaca Annie and her team to the home, much to the delight of one resident, Dave, who exclaimed that they were ‘lovely’ and made him smile.
Dave lives with dementia, but with the help of his friend, Nicola, the home was able to deliver on his wish. The initial surprise soon turned to delight as Dave became particularly fond of one ‘cheeky’ furry visitor, Bebe.
The alpacas, provided by Alpaca Annie in Romney Marsh, were introduced to the residents in the home’s garden, complemented by sunny weather and a delicious cream tea.
Annie’s business originally started when her own mother was suffering from dementia and found animals therapeutic. The herd has now grown to 87 alpacas.
Alison Yarnley, Registered Manager at Fairways, said:
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who made Dave’s wish become a reality. We know that he’s unlikely to remember much from the day, but we also know that the ‘in the moment’ experiences matter so much to someone like Dave, who is living with dementia. It also created lasting memories for his friends and the home to treasure.”
The alpacas are just one of many activities Fairways organise for its residents, which often include regular visits from various different animals due to their therapeutic effects. Animals can provide sensory stimulation through tactile activities, stimulate memories and positive emotions, while their playful nature brings joy and laughter to residents, helping to enhance their overall wellbeing.
Alison continued: “The day was amazing, even down to Dave wearing his very apt hoodie that said: ‘Adventure? Alpaca my bags’. It’s clear to see how much he loves the animals, and how the day really was a dream come true for him. For us to be a part of that was so special.”