This is the heartwarming moment a number of dementia sufferers had their day brightened up by a group of HENS.
Studies have found that interacting with chickens can combat loneliness and depression while improving wellbeing.
‘HenPower’ encourages elderly people to care for chickens by collecting their eggs, interacting with the birds through creative arts and ensuring they are fed and watered.
And dementia sufferers in Sheffield, Yorks., got a chance to be ‘hensioners’ for the day at the city’s Wellbeing Centre.
They met three chickens from HenPower and were able to handle them and interact with the birds for the morning.
And these uplifting images show how the therapy hens brought a smile to their faces as they perched on their shoulders, sat on their laps and wandered around the care home.
They also had the chance to put their artistic skills into practice and created chicken-inspired art.
The event at the dementia care home was arranged by academics from the University of Sheffield, Age UK Sheffield and the charity Equal Arts, which came up with the idea of HenPower.
Dr Andrea Wigfield, director of care connect at the University of Sheffield, said: “Today’s event was a perfect example of how simple and easy it is to help curb loneliness in older people and those living with dementia.
“Here at the University of Sheffield we have some of the world leaders in social science research, many of whom conduct extensive and groundbreaking research into loneliness and wellbeing.
“This one-of-a-kind event is not the first time the University of Sheffield has researched and examined wellbeing and loneliness.
“One of the main aims of the ESRC funded Festival of Social Sciences is for people to learn more about how innovative social science is tackling the issues that individuals and societies face today through exciting and immersive events.
“One of the most important issues societies face today is loneliness. This event was not only a positive day for all involved but will also help us examine loneliness in greater detail.”
Douglas Hunter, co-director of Equal Arts, said: “A 12-month independent study of HenPower found it reduces loneliness and depression in older people and those living with dementia.
“We hear regularly how bringing hen-keeping and creativity together is hugely benefiting those involved.
“It’s amazing to have gone from such humble beginnings in one care setting in the North East to supporting thousands of older people and communities across England and globally.”
Steve Chu, CEO of Age UK Sheffield, added: “We were delighted to bring HenPower to our Wellbeing Centre and our customers loved the event.
“The experience we provide to people with dementia and memory loss at the Wellbeing Centre is high quality and informed by academic research, so this was a great event to be involved in.”