The Birches Assisted Living Welcomes Three Therapy Chickens

The Birches Assisted Living's therapy chickens received a formal welcome party hosted by The Birches’ memory care neighborhood on April 28.

Clarendon Hills, IL, May 01, 2016 --( There are three new residents at The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill.. They moved in last fall and are extremely popular among their fellow residents. Their names are Summer, Fall and Halloween, and they are The Birches’ therapy chickens.

Now that spring has sprung, The Birches’ therapy chickens received a formal welcome party hosted by The Birches’ memory care neighborhood Encore on April 28. A lot of Birches residents have already become chummy with the chickens, but those who haven’t got up close and personal with their new neighbors in Encore’s gated outdoor courtyard.

“It’s wonderful to see everyone’s faces light up when they see the chickens for the first time. We all know how therapeutic animals can be, so it’s great to have some right in our own backyard,” said The Birches’ Executive Director Jackie Foss.

Although therapy animals are nothing new, people usually think of a therapy animal as something furry like a dog, cat or even a rabbit. Today, however, feathered therapy animals are falling into fashion—especially chickens.

Therapy chickens are already quite popular in assisted living communities around the world and have also been shown to help children with autism.

For seniors, the benefits of therapy chickens can be traced to the era in which they lived. It wasn’t uncommon for families to have chickens during the time period they grew up.

“We know there are a lot of residents who grew up on farms or who had memorable experiences on farms in their youth and young adulthood,” said Foss. “So we wanted to bring those good memories back for people.”

The original idea to bring therapy chickens to The Birches came from the Director of Dining Services Diana Subaciute. Subaciute herself had chickens, and she was excited to learn that some assisted living communities have them too.

“I watched a really interesting video about an assisted living community in Australia that had chickens,” said Subaciute. “Watching how the residents responded and how much joy the chickens brought to their community made me realize that we should do it to.”

And since The Birches also began keeping bees in 2015, it wasn’t a huge stretch to delve into the realm of keeping chickens, according to Foss.

“We love doing things differently and taking on projects that really enrich the lives of our residents, like our bees and our chickens,” said Foss. “I think both of these additions to our community offer our residents something unique that they can’t experience everywhere.”

The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135630-789-1135 or visit:
The Birches Assisted Living
Jenny Smiechowski