Care UK recruits songbirds to help reduce anxiety and stress

Posted on March 5th, by geoff in Caring Times head, CT Extra. No Comments

Caring Times, March 2013

Care UK, one of the UK’s largest providers of residential care homes, is to use birdsong in its care services for people living with dementia after authoritative research showed it can play an important role in reducing anxiety.

Birdsong CDs will be available in all Care UK homes housing 3000 residents. People with dementia in particular often have trouble in making sense of the world around them and birdsong has been proven to relieve stress.

The introduction has been timed to coincide with the Royal Society of Bird Protection’s Big Garden Birdwatch weekend – the world’s biggest wildlife survey, which gives the charity vital information to monitor bird populations. Care UK’s residential care homes and day clubs will all take part in the event and submit their findings to the RSPB.

Now in its 34th year, the survey provides the RSPB with an important snapshot of garden bird populations in winter and has helped to highlight some dramatic declines in UK garden birds. Participation in the Big Garden Birdwatch will stimulate people and is part of a programme of activity-based care that is delivered in Care UK’s 103 homes, spread across the UK – from Aberdeen to Dorset.

Maizie Mears-Owen, head of dementia care at Care UK, said that staying connected with nature was an important and fulfilling activity, particularly for people living with dementia: “Many of the residents in our homes already enjoy bird-watching throughout the year, and we encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible.

“Nature, particularly bird song, has a therapeutic effect on people and it is both relaxing and stimulating to count birds and watch them, whether it is outdoors in the garden or from the comfort and warmth of indoors. It not only stimulates memories but also encourages conversations.”

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