An innovative Massachusetts senior care center has found a way to incorporate chickens into their residents’ routine.  According to the Boston Globe, Life Care Center, a nursing home and short term rehabilitation facility for patients suffering from memory loss, has recently acquired five hens at their facility.

The hope of the facility is to help its residents bring back forgotten memories, as most are from a generation that grew up on or near farms.  Having chickens at Life Care Center is twofold.   Chickens provide tactile materials, feathers and eggs, which residents can hold to help recall experiences from their youth.  By holding an egg one resident was able to bring back memories of cooking and making homemade pasta as a child growing up in Italy. Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s typically have a hard time focusing for long periods of time.  Watching the chickens move around and interact in their natural environment provides another activity that captivates patients’ attention.  The coop is placed strategically near a large window in the activity room so chickens can also be observed from indoors.

Ultimately, Life Care would like to further engage their residents by allowing them to participate in feeding the birds and collecting their eggs from the coop.  Engagement keeps residents with memory loss sharper and will hopefully prolong some of the difficulties they face.