Shropshire Star

Cooper the labrador lights up Shropshire care home

At just 10 weeks old Cooper the labrador is by far the youngest resident at his new home.

Cooper is the newest resident in town. Giving him a fuss is 90 year old Sylvia Brown with boss Les Jones.

He is the new resident pet at Bradeney House care home in Worfield, near Bridgnorth.

Bradeney House owner Les Jones, said: "Cooper has come to us what we call our 'patter' dog, for residents with dementia.

"We used to pay people to come in to the home with their pets, and we have had all sorts of animals come in over the years, dogs and cats and horses and ponies. So we decided to buy our own.

"Music and animals are great ways to reach people with dementia. People with dementia can't communicate very well, and you can just see their faces light up when a puppy comes to sit in their lap."

Cooper has already been introduced around to all three sections and 101 permanent residents of Bradeney House, and is already a fixture there. He will visit each week, and brighten the lives of not only the residents but the staff as well.

According to The Alzheimers Society, 'animal-assisted interventions' can often improve self-esteem and confidence in people with dementia. It can also promote quality of life and encourage independence.

Visits from an animal can be an energetic experience or an exciting part of a person’s day. Animals can be a wonderful source of love and laughter for people with dementia.

Care homes across the country allow interactions and activities involving carefully selected animals.

The animals and their owners, who are often volunteers, might make regular visits to care homes. They will often be breeds of animals with a calm or gentle temperament. This is often known as ‘pet therapy’.

If a person with dementia previously owned a pet, these animal interactions could help with reminiscence. Visits from animals may help people with dementia recall memories and could become an activity for someone to look forward to.

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