Petting zoo engages Streamway residents on many levels

Pictured above, scenes from the petting zoo that Streamway Villa hosted on June 3.

‘The residents didn’t want to go back inside. It was one of those magical days where everything just worked out perfectly’

The return visit of Kristie’s Little Portable Petting Zoo to Streamway Villa brought about a lot of fun, laughter and reminiscing for residents, while providing a conversation piece for the surrounding community.

The petting zoo stopped by the Cobourg long-term care home June 3 for its second visit in two years. The animals, which included rabbits, llamas, goats, sheep and ducks, roamed around the courtyard, and residents were encouraged to come outside and interact.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Doughty says several stations were set up in the courtyard for residents to stop in and visit the animals.

Christina says the greatest successes garnered from the day were the expressions on residents’ faces.

“To see the reactions on some of the newer residents’ faces and the reminiscing that was taking place during the visits to the farm animals – that was amazing,” she says.

“We had a lot of different reactions, but for the most part residents loved it, families loved it and staff loved it. The residents didn’t want to go back inside. It was one of those magical days where everything just worked out perfectly.”

A value-added benefit to the visit from the petting zoo was that the animals provided some of the newer personal support workers (PSWs) with ideas to engage residents in conversations, Christina adds.

“A lot of the newer PSWs were more engaged with the residents, I found; they had something different to talk to the residents about,” she says.

With Streamway Villa’s location in the heart of Cobourg, many people were walking by the home. Some peered over the fence, saw the animals and asked if they could stop in, Christina notes.

“We had the community involved (and) we had a beautiful day for it, too,” she says.

If your long-term care home is interested in a visit from Kristie’s Little Portable Petting Zoo, you can call 1-613-968-0282 for more information.

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