Residents at over 30 Care UK care homes are taking part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for the second year running.
Dementia expert Bridget Penney from Care UK says that bird watching has considerable health benefits for residents. “Lots of people love to watch the birds but, for older people, it is so much more than just a way of passing the time. It provides a prompt for conversations and reminiscences – something that is particularly important for people living with dementia.
“Seeing birds on the feeders can unlock memories from decades ago and prompt conversations, even with someone whose advanced dementia has made them quite withdrawn. Equally, birdsong has the same ability to release memories, which is why we produced our own CD of bird calls a few years ago for homes to use in activity sessions.”
In addition to bird watching, residents will take part in craft sessions decorating bird boxes and making fat balls of feed. “Just cleaning and re-filling feeders and bird baths are meaningful tasks which get residents outdoors and moving around and they love to be doing their bit to help wildlife.” Penny added.
Residents will also plant flowers and shrubs designed to attract butterflies and other nectar loving insects in the gardens of many of the homes, particularly the new ones; putting up brightly decorated nest boxes for birds; and plant shrubs that provide dense cover for roosting and nesting or those that produce berries birds love to eat.