Horses surprise visit helps bring back memories for elderly care home resident

A horse made a surprise visit to a care home in Surrey as part of a nationwide initiative to help the elderly revisit their hobbies and “bring back memories”.

Care UK’s Long Lost Hobbies programme sees residents return to their favourite pastimes, including flower arranging, knitting and letter writing, in efforts which the company says are particularly beneficial for those with dementia.

Spurred on by the initiative, staff at Milner House in Leatherhead organised a surprise visit by Rosie the horse for 90-year-old Frank Grace, who said the experience made his day.

Mr Grace previously worked in a horse sanctuary and was once a keen horse rider.

Mr Grace and Rosie the horse in the garden of Care UK’s Milner House (Andrew Williams/Care UK/PA)

“Horses like Rosie have always made my day. You shouldn’t be afraid of them, just because they’re big,” Mr Grace said.

“Love them and they will love you in return.”

Michele Belch, a manager at Milner House, said: “We had a fantastic time revisiting Frank’s hobby and taking Rosie for a walk around the garden.

Residents at the home enjoy the company of Rosie (Andrew Williams/Care UK/PA)

“Revisiting a past hobby, such as horse riding, can help bring back memories, as well as providing an enjoyable way to connect with others through a familiar activity that once brought joy,” said Ms Belch.

“Residents and team members at Milner House have loved revisiting their favourite hobbies and discovering new ways to pass the time from younger generations.

“It has been wonderful to hear residents talking about how they first discovered their favourite hobby and the fond memories this interest created.”