Love a duck! Feathered friends provide ‘perfect therapy’ for Prince George House residents
Half a dozen ducklings have been born at an Ipswich care home as part of a new therapy project for residents.
Angela Hodge, dementia care specialist for Care UK Suffolk, talks us through the science behind the project
“We have been delighted to see the progress of our therapy project – which comes under our Activity Based Care scheme. Soon, we will be introducing ducklings at Mills Meadow in Framlingham. The residents vote for the pets themselves and get very involved. Just recently, residents at Prince George House made a collage full of 40 photographs – they don’t want to forget the experience. We want to help residents affected by dementia remember their experiences in the home – and it keeps their minds active too.
“It boosts their cognitive function, something which degenerates in those living with an illness like dementia.
“We support their families too – several grandchildren have come in for cuddles with the ducks, and it’s great to see such a hands-on project boost the residents’ quality of life in such a way”.
Residents and colleagues at Prince George House in Ravenswood nurtured the eggs and saw six ducklings hatch over ten days in the first weeks of March.
The new arrivals form part of a special project provided by Incredible Eggs, a professional chick and duck hatching service for nurseries and care homes across the region.
And care home staff say the scheme has “calming” benefits for residents, especially those living with a degenerative illness.
Residents enjoyed the experience so much that the Prince George House team have decided to build an outside hut so that all six ducks can permanently live at the care home once they are ready to leave their indoor brooding box.
Prince George House Care Home in Ipswich hatched ducklings at the home.
Prince George House Care Home resident Peggy Woolnough watches the ducklings, that hatched four weeks ago, in their new enclosure.
Residents at Prince George House Care Home Dot Ridgway and Peggy Woolnough along with Lifestyle Co-ordinator Lauren Broom feed the four week-old ducklings that hatched at the home.
Prince George House Care Home resident Peggy Woolnough holds one of the ducklings that hatched four weeks ago at the home.
Prince George House Care Home resident Dot Ridgway holds one of the ducklings that hatched four weeks ago at the home.
Residents at Prince George House Care Home Dot Ridgway, Linda Grant and Peggy Woolnough, hold their newest residents, four weeks old ducklings they hatched at the home.
Home manager Katherine Foley said: “We have all really enjoyed incubating the eggs and watching them hatch. The duckling project has many calming and sensory benefits for residents, particularly those living with dementia, as well as reminiscence for the many residents here who used to keep their own ducks and chickens in the garden”.
Prince George House is also home to two cats, called George and Milly, and a dog called Scruff.
Each pet is voted for by residents using the home’s dot-voting system.
Ms Foley added: “We think it is really important to support residents to maintain their independence and take an active role in the day-to-day running of their home, by encouraging them to choose what activities they would like to do, what pets we should get and what we should name them.
“It’s been a great success”.
Prince George House, on Mansbrook Boulevard in Ipswich, provides residential, nursing and dementia care for up to 80 people as well as flexible day care in the adjacent Prince George Club. For more information call 0333 321 1986 or visit careuk.com/prince-george-house.