A pair of squirrel monkeys popped in to meet the residents of Larkrise Care Centre in Banbury, operated by The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) to monkey around and help beat the January blues.
Nine-year-old Tia and 24-year-old Malcolm, accompanied by their handlers from Amazing Animals, soon made themselves at home, hopping from shoulder to shoulder and happily sitting on residents’ knees.
One resident, Christine, said it brought back lots of memories of trips to the zoo with her husband.
“We used to go to see the monkeys all the time and my husband loved it. He would have loved to see these ones today. They are so friendly and calm. It’s just wonderful.”
The monkeys are handled by experts from Amazing Animals in Chipping Norton who specialise in exotic animal training through positive reinforcement. Tia and Malcolm have been trained to adapt positively to new surroundings and are extremely docile, making them a perfect choice for an unforgettable experience for Larkrise’s residents.
The home has run a range of sensory activities throughout the month that are specifically designed to lift the mood and beat the January blues. Residents have been particularly looking forward to the uplifting visit from the squirrel monkeys.
There is much evidence that shows the therapeutic benefits that interacting with animals in later life can have in terms of helping to raise morale, enhance mood and reduce anxiety levels.
Home Manager, Lyndsay Sard, says: “We already have a number of resident animals here at Larkrise including our rescue cat, rabbits and budgies, but it was so exciting to see these exotic visitors today. Residents have been really looking forward to this and it was fantastic to see the looks on their faces as the monkeys wandered around right in front of them.
“It was a very special experience that we’ll all be talking about for some time.”