Care home visitor is the mane attraction

There was an eggs-tra special visitor at a care home over the Easter weekend.

By David Sedgwick
Tuesday, 30 April, 2019, 10:28
Smurf, a blind Shetland pony, visits residents at West Farm Care Centre, in Longbenton.

Smurf, a blind Shetland pony, was introduced to residents at West Farm Care Centre, in Longbenton.

The visit follows research showing that animal therapy has significant positive effects on the wellbeing of those in elderly care, helping to make residents feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Trish Giles, manager at West Farm Care Centre, said: “It was incredible to see the impact Smurf had on residents both during his visit and for a long time after.”

“The residents who met him were extremely happy and he created quite a stir!

“There was an air of excitement around the home with lots of conversation, smiles and laughter.

“He really helped to encourage the engagement of residents among one another and with staff which is an important part of their care.

“The Easter eggs he delivered too also went down a treat!”

Smurf is owned by Lisa Walker who runs Mini Pony Hire, an award-winning family business providing pony experiences for a range of different organisations, including residential and dementia care homes, where interaction with ponies is hugely beneficial.

Trish added: “We are focused on providing personalised care of the highest quality and animals play a key part in this.

“It’s proven to provide excellent benefits to residents including greater interaction, improving physical and mental wellbeing by having a calming effect, and helping to reduce anxiety.

“We can’t wait to see Smurf again!”

Anna Cullis, a resident at West Farm, added: “What a lovely little fella. His mane is really thick, and I loved his bunny ears too!”