Care home residents have welcomed their newest arrivals – a clutch of six hens.
And the new additions, including Paxo and Queenie, are already going down a storm at the home in Hartlepool for the way they are helping to improve wellbeing.
The chickens have taken up residence in Queens Meadow Care Home’s garden as part of the Equal Arts HenPower Project.
It aims to introduce the feathered friends to bring older people together and combat loneliness.
Residents have already named four of their new chickens – Queenie, Mother, Majory and Paxo – and are inviting the local community in to meet them.
One of the residents Bob Hall, 85, said: “I am delighted we now have the hens.
The residents were so happy and excited to see the hens arriving. It has already had a visible impact and we can’t wait to see how they settle inJulie Armstrong, manager of Queens Meadow Care Home
“I go outside in my wheelchair each day to meet them. They are wonderful to watch.”
The HenPower project, which is being run across the UK, claims to have benefitted care homes.
A 12-month study of the nnovative project was carried out by Northumbria University.
Its results were published last year and the findings showed chickens helped by reducing agitation and use of anti-psychotic medication among dementia residents.
It also aims to help older people get involved with schools and community events and provide meaningful activities within the home.
Julie Armstrong, manager of Queens Meadow Care Home, which is in Stockton Road, said: “The residents were so happy and excited to see the hens arriving. It has already had a visible impact and we can’t wait to see how they settle in.
“They have a brand new chicken-coop in the garden, where our residents can go out and watch, feed, pet and care for them.
“We will also be inviting local schools and community groups to visit.”
She added: “It is a brilliant project. Something as simple as keeping chickens can make a world of difference for the elderly, especially those with dementia.
We can’t thank the Equal Arts charity enough for their support.”
With loneliness said to be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, HenPower helps vulnerable older people gain a sense of purpose and being part of something worthwhile.