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One of the things we are passionate about at the Magnolia and Primrose care homes is caring for elders on a holistic level and addressing spiritual and emotional needs beyond just physical and social needs.

One of the ways we do this is through integrating animals and visits from children in the care home. Most people respond to animals with very positive emotions. Our residents’ faces light up and they love stroking the soft fur of cats and dogs. It is not just our residents who enjoy animals, there is research to suggest that animal therapy provides tangible benefits to elders and elders with dementia in particular. According to this review, studies show that the presence of animals reduces aggression and agitation and promotes social interaction. There is even some evidence to suggest that animals can encourage better eating at meal times. Other possible benefits of animal therapy include increased exercise and mobility (ex. throwing a ball, grooming, short walks) and of course, pleasure.

Because of the obvious benefits of animal interactions, we have tried to integrate animals of all kinds into our care homes. Currently at Magnolia we have a pair of parakeets that keep the air lively with bird chatter. Next door at Primrose, three zebra finches flit about  in their habitat and their soft tweets add a pleasant ambiance. Outside our garden frequently welcomes wild birds and butterflies. The owner’s dog, Roxy, also loves to come visit the residents and warm their laps.

Our next step is to add permanent pets to the care homes that residents can help care for and feel ownership over. To this end, we recently adopted two white mini poodle puppy brothers. They are hypoallergenic, loving, and the perfect size for a lap dog. Once they are completely trained they will move to the care home to be permanent therapy dogs. For now, they come by for short visits to get used to the home and the equipment they might see her. We couldn’t resist snapping this picture of one of our residents and a puppy, both of whom have cast right now for breaks. Dont’ worry, both are healing!

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