Tweeting helps combat dementia at Douglas Court care home

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TWEETING is proving to be a flying success when it comes to delaying the onset of dementia at Douglas Court care home in Derby – and nothing to do with social media.

The care home in Osmaston Road has installed a bespoke aviary with five pairs of vibrant, rainbow budgies, two blushing cockatiels, three tiny quails and a pair of flittering Java sparrows as part of its successful Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programme.

The fledgling residents join African Grey Parrot Bobby and Douglas the cat at the home, with studies revealing that human animal interaction (HAI) has a positive affect on dementia sufferers.

It works by increasing feelings of well-being and also helps boost self-esteem, which we have seen with our other animals at the home,” said Debra Meynell, manager at Douglas Court. “We wanted to introduce something bright and stimulating, but that would also be a calming influence.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, 750,000 people in the UK have dementia, over 60 percent of whom are care home residents, with health expert Professor Peter Piot labelling dementia one of the largest global health challenges at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease International conference.

As the brain slowly shuts down, sufferers can feel frustrated as they struggle with everyday tasks including washing and eating, while the disease costs the UK more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined. Alternative therapies such as AAT are, therefore, becoming invaluable.

They might be simple approaches, but they really do help delay the onset of this debilitating disease,” said Debra. “Since the aviary was installed, residents who are usually reluctant to come out of their rooms have ventured out into the garden to sit under the gazebo and watch the birds.”

The aviary itself was built, installed and is serviced by Bespoke Aviaries based in Dovesite Business Park, which was recently set up by bird lovers and old friends Steve Hearne and Martyn Harrison after engineer Steve was made redundant from Bombardier in Derby after 35 years.

We’ve always kept birds and this seemed like the perfect career change,” he said. “We install a lot of aviaries in places where people might not be able to get and about, giving them a bit of enjoyment, whether it’s taking in the vibrant colours of the birds or watching babies hatching.”

Photo Opportunity

If you would like to take a picture of residents and the new aviary, call Debra on 01332 346060 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            01332 346060      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Douglas Court care home is purpose built and registered with the Care Quality Commission for 43 older people. It is also rated ‘good’ by the government’s care regulator. Adept Care Group has run care homes in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire since 1985 and prides itself on high standards and a clean and safe environment. The company is particularly proud of its entertainments programme, paid for through the Residents Social Fund.

Release date: 22nd March 2012

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