Care home residents' walk on the wild side during visit to Chester Zoo


Steve Creswell

RESIDENTS at a city care home rubbed shoulders with all creatures great and small on a special visit to mark the home’s new partnership with Chester Zoo.

Upton Dene Residential and Nursing Home, in Caldecott Close, launched its partnership to help people stay active in the community.

Among the sights enjoyed by the VIP guests were baby elephants, a baby giraffe and the colony of Humboldt penguins which the Sanctuary Care home is adopting as part of the partnership.

Resident Jean Capner, 87, said: “I loved every minute of the zoo, it’s not every day you become buddies with a penguin – one looked like he should be called Peter, I wanted to take him home with me. I can’t wait to come again.”

Fellow resident Doreen Vardy, 92, added: “I could’ve sat there all day watching the penguins, they were just beautiful and were showing off. Every time we came close to the viewing window they would swim by to say hello to us.”

Upton Dene’s manager Matthew Bell said: “We had a fabulous day visiting Chester Zoo which was the perfect way to mark our new partnership. It is an extremely exciting time for us as we strongly believe it’s important to support our residents to remain active members of their local community – and our partnership with such an iconic local attraction is helping us to do just that.”

As part of the partnership the home, which provides residential, residential dementia and nursing care, will also be supporting regular dementia friendly coffee mornings which take place at the zoo on the second and fourth Monday of every month, between 10.30am and midday.

The regular coffee mornings, which take place in Bembe Coffee Shop, will see local visitors, including carers and people living with dementia, receive free advice and support from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Matthew added: “Supporting Chester Zoo’s dementia coffee mornings is the perfect fit for us as dementia is something which is close to all our hearts and it’s a wonderful opportunity to support people living in our community.”

Rose Gelder, from the zoo’s fundraising team, said: “We’re leading the way as a dementia-friendly zoo and we’re ever so proud to be working with Sanctuary Care.

“Many of our staff have received extensive training to support those living with dementia and we’re delighted to be able to provide a lovely environment so that people can get together and enjoy views of rhinos, warthogs and Asian elephants over a nice cup of coffee.” 

See full story in the Chester Leader

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