Chickens and rabbits work wonders at Chadwell Heath care home

A MENAGERIE of animals in Chadwell Heath is bringing smiles to the people who need it most.

Chadwell House, which specialises in dementia care, is home to a range of animals including six rabbits, four guinea pigs, two budgies, 10 chickens and two cockatiels.

Managers at the Chadwell Heath Lane centre believe having animals around is good for residents’ health.

Chris Gammons, manager of Chadwell House, said: “We find it enhances residents’ well-being. They love stroking the animals and it is very therapeutic for them.

“We have one guy who likes to go out to see if the chickens have laid any eggs. Many of our residents will have had animals in their own homes so it helps to create a homely effect. We all pitch in looking after them.”

A spokesman for Sanctuary Care, who own the residential home, say their aim is to ensure all its centres are animal-friendly.

The group’s 42 homes across the country boast more than 15 cats, five guinea pigs, 15 rabbits, one dog, 15 chickens, 10 fish tanks, 15 other birds such as budgerigars and cockatiels, and one hamster.

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In addition, residents receive monthly visits from owls, rats, scorpions, donkeys, a giant snail and a water dragon.

Len Merton, Sanctuary Group’s Director of Care, said: “It is all about creating a home from home. Pets are very therapeutic, particularly to elderly people.

“Many of our residents will have had pets before and it creates a very nice atmosphere to see a pet given a special place in a home.

“We are passionate about ensuring our care homes are homely and having a pet is one element of creating a good environment.”

Len added: “We even produce care plans for our pets to ensure they are given the same loving care as our residents!”

Sanctuary Care’s commitment to promoting the well-being of residents extends to considering requests from people moving into its homes who may want to bring a pet.

According to the Pet Health Council, pets can help prevent illness and allergies, lower blood pressure, aid recovery and boost survival chances after life-threatening illness.

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