Residents at a care home in Romsey have received a visit from a very different pair of guests – in the form of two South American alpacas.

The furry visitors dropped into Durban House as part of an organised animal therapy session, and both residents and staff couldn’t help but lavish the loveable animals with attention.

Used to visiting care homes in the area, Guinness and Almond were taken into the lounge, where residents and their families were able to feed, walk, stroke, and interact with the four-legged friends from Alpaca Adventure in Dorset.

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‘Animal therapy’ refers to the use of animals to help people with specific physical or mental health conditions, and it has become more and more popular in care homes over recent years.

Lucy Harrison, general manager, says the benefits for residents are huge.

She said: “Interaction with different creatures helps stimulate our residents’ brains and helps to keep them mentally active and engaged. Regular visits also mean the residents can create bonds with the animals and build up an emotional connection with them.

“Animal therapy also helps to decrease agitated behaviours of residents who have dementia, as it helps them to remember and talk about past pets and animal experiences.

Hampshire Chronicle: Alpacas visiting Durban House care home.

“Thanks go to Alpaca Adventure for bringing Guinness and Almond along today – it was an absolute delight to see the reaction on the residents’ faces. I know it will be the source of conversation for days and weeks to come.”

Wendy Williams from Alpaca Adventure said her animals always have a calming influence on the residents and are a perfect conversation starter.

She said: “Alpacas are very calm animals, which is ideal for elderly residents. When we take them into care homes like Durban House, they always provide a reason to chat. I’ve heard many wonderful stories of animals and pets from years gone by.”

Durban House is part of Sears Healthcare and CEO Richard Adams is pleased to hear that the residents can have the opportunity to benefit from these special therapy sessions.

He said: “At Durban House, we are a nurse-led care home, so our approach focuses on providing a home from home for our residents while we meet their healthcare needs. It is heartwarming to hear that these two alpacas have had such a big impact here.”


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