Feathered friends visit west Suffolk care homes

A resident at a Care UK home meets a barn owl from Suffolk Owl Sanctuary ANL-160902-165026001
A resident at a Care UK home meets a barn owl from Suffolk Owl Sanctuary ANL-160902-165026001
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Birds and wildlife of all shapes and sizes were spotted at Care UK’s care homes in west Suffolk last weekend, as part of the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

Residents at Davers Court in Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall Lodge in Mildenhall welcomed wildlife to bird-friendly habitats, which they have been tending to for 12 months after taking part in the Birdwatch in 2015.

Compared to the results of last year’s count, the home noticed a marked increase in the number of birds coming into the garden, thanks to residents’ involvement in creating dedicated wildlife areas with bird boxes and feeders.

Residents at Cedrus House care home in Stowmarket, who have also been busy creating a bird-friendly garden, were pleased to take part in the Birdwatch for the first time this year.

The annual Birdwatch was part of a programme of activities at Care UK’s homes across west Suffolk, designed to help residents to experience all the sensory benefits of the great outdoors.

As well as keeping a record of the number and types of birds coming into the garden during a one hour period for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, Davers Court, Mildenhall Lodge and Cedrus House were excited to welcome a special visit from some local owls.

Experts from the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary toured around the three homes, educating residents about birdwatching and birds of prey, and introducing one of their friendly barn owls.

Katy Hughes, home manager at Mildenhall Lodge, explained: “As well as helping to support an important national initiative from the RSPB, the Birdwatch also provided an excellent opportunity for nature-loving residents to either spend time in the garden listening to bird song or to spot visiting birds and wildlife from the comfort of our lounge overlooking the garden.

“At Mildenhall Lodge and other Care UK homes across the county, we support residents to participate in outdoor and sensory activities as they can boost emotional and physical wellbeing, and help residents to live meaningful and fulfilled lives.

The birdwatch also proved to be a valuable reminiscence activity for those living with dementia, and everyone enjoyed spotting and naming the many bird and wildlife species which paid us a visit over the weekend.”

For more information on the benefits of getting outdoors for people living with dementia, and practical advice for family carers, pick up a copy on Care UK’s Good To Go guide from Davers Court in Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall Lodge in Mildenhall and Cedrus House in Stowmarket. It can also be downloaded at www.careuk.com/goodtogo.

To attract more birds to your garden why not try making your own bird food. Visit www.careuk.com/birdwatch to download Care UK’s fat cake recipe and to see the many varied activities residents at Care UK homes have been enjoying as part of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

For more information about Care UK’s care homes in west Suffolk please call 0333 321 0956 or visit careuk.com/suffolk.