20 October 2021
A new lifestyle program has hatched at Arcare Surrey Hills.
Animals On the Move is a hatching program that recently came to Arcare Surrey Hills. Two chicks and eight eggs arrived at the aged care residence in an incubator, sparking the beginning of a labour of love from the community. It has been an opportunity for residents to visit and check on the eggs daily and a moment to reminisce about the many experiences raising chickens and collecting eggs that the community has. The residents waited patiently, staring at the incubator for signs of the first hatching egg, until finally the first chick hatched on 5th October.
“The residents love to come down and pat them. We get a lot of comments on how soft they are and how funny they look. They were a bit nervous to hold the chicks at first, as they are so tiny, but they got used to it pretty quickly and now love it,” said Arcare Surrey Hills Lifestyle Coordinator, Rachel Natoli.
Dorothy (resident) has especially enjoyed watching the whole process unfold, taking a stroll every morning to check on the progress on the eggs and chicks. As part of the lifestyle at Arcare, residences incorporate regular pet therapy into their programs, including encouraging team members to bring in their own pets!
Studies have shown that pet therapy with seniors can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of social isolation, and increase confidence and self-esteem among many other benefits.
Although the chicks don’t have names yet, the community hopes to run a naming competition to help choose their names in the coming weeks.
“The residents are already looking forward to our next pet therapy program, and they are already suggesting we get some ducks next time around,” says Rachel.