Bird Tales

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With support from the Toyota TogetherGreen program and the TransCon Family of Homes, Randy Griffin, Dementia Care Specialist, and Audubon employee Ken Elkins developed "Bird Tales" a dynamic, unique, and low cost therapeutic program that brings the natural outdoor world of birds to people living with dementia.

Bird Tales was created by Randy Griffin, Dementia Care Specialist as an easy-to-implement therapeutic program that uses multisensory stimulation and the natural outdoor world of birds to help people living with dementia interact with their environment and share a meaningful experience with others. Observing birds through sight, sound, smell and touch can encourage staff and family interactions even in elders with advanced dementia, and lift their mood for the rest of the day!

Working with four facilities operated by Transcon Corporation, our Education Program Manager, Ken Elkins has incorporated Audubon at Home environmental principles into the goals of these facilities to improve the quality of life for their residents. The pilot program consists of therapeutic programs that encourage participants to connect with birds on a multisensory level - sight, sound, smell, and touch. Ken has also worked with the facility staff to improve the quality of bird habitat at each facility, incorporating practices like organic lawn care and landscaping with native species, becoming the first corporate grounds to be recognized as bird-friendly habitats by Audubon Connecticut.

To work on this unique project, Ken was one of 40 environmental professionals to receive a 2011 TogetherGreen Fellowship.  Supported by a conserva­tion alliance of Audubon and Toyota, the TogetherGreen Fellowship offers specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. Each Fellow receives $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy, and contributing to greater environmental health.  To read more about Ken'sTogetherGreen Fellowship, click here.

BirdTales toolkit
 A training video and workbook was produced by Randy Griffin, RN MS HNC, and Ken Elkins to make this program easy to replicate and implement at other dementia care and assisted living centers throughout the country.  This publication is now available!  For information on how to order your own copy click here.