With spring now officially upon us, so too is bird watching season at Safe Haven Dementia Centre, and it didn’t take our clients long to flock to the windows and marvel at our feathered friends.

We had planned to feature bird watching once a month on our Activities’ timetable. However, since hanging up our brightly-coloured feeders in the hedge grove opposite our lounge windows, the amount of birds visiting has vastly increased. Whereas previously we had only noticed the odd Sparrow and Starling, we’re now inundated with Robins, Thrushes and Magpies dropping by each day.

Clients and staff alike have become so intrigued with the increased bird action that we now take the opportunity to update ourselves on their movements every day over a cuppa, and have started to count how many birds we see and note the various species visiting. Some of our clients are hoping to witness birds building their nests, and there is, of course, a real interest in the Red kite, which is famous for flying high above the Chilterns.

Bird watching can be of benefit to some people with dementia as it can help to link them to nature again, and it’s an extremely calming and peaceful hobby to participate in either independently or with other people. It can often be a real conversational aid, and enables the person to reminiscence and remember how they used to play in their gardens, bird watch from their bedroom windows or take walks through the countryside as children.

Much research has been done to look further into the therapeutic effects of bird watching and the sensory benefits of listening to bird song, and visually observing their beautiful colours and textures. It can also help to counteract the stressful elements of dementia, by helping to relieve anxiety and developing one-to-one companionship. It can often help family members to reconnect with their loved ones, by giving them a common interest, however, the best thing about bird watching is that it can be done every day, in all weathers, from either inside or outside.

Our next step at Safe Haven is to purchase binoculars, so we can really keep a close eye on our feathered friends.

For more information, please call 01494 854 399 or email us at: enquiries@safehavendementiacentre.co.uk