Owls visit the ASB senior citizens' home in Wiesloch

The falconer of hearts inspires people with his therapy birds in the Johann-Philipp-Bronner-Haus

(Mannheim/Wiesloch, 23.08.2022) With big round eyes, they look into the faces of the residents of the ASB senior citizens' home Johann-Philipp-Bronner-Haus in Wiesloch. Their names are Merlin, Woody, Frodo, Emma and Mephisto, and they are taking hearts by storm. "You can stroke and cuddle them," says Achim Häfner, the falconer of hearts, to the residents. No one is told twice. The owls wander from hand to hand, they are trusting and calm. "They are so sweet," enthuses one resident. An initial shyness is quickly overcome. Everyone wants to hold and pet the owls once. "I would never have thought that owls are so trusting," laughs one resident. They soon want to keep the birds in the nursing home after all. So it doesn't matter if one or the other owl briefly flicks its tail and leaves a blob on the floor. Julia Bühler, the home's director, is also very enthusiastic about the visit. It is very important to her to offer the residents of the Johann Philipp Bronner Home more than just conventional care. "We do a lot and always have a colorful program for the people entrusted to us," she says, "that's more than just variety in everyday life, that means joy, laughter and active participation in life."

Visit of the therapy birds is a special experience

"The effect of the animals is indescribable," reports Achim Häfner. Above all, dementia patients were also very open to the owls and remembered the encounters for a long time. Achim Häfner has been on the road for over 20 years as a falconer of hearts throughout Germany with his carefully trained animals. In retirement homes, hospices, facilities for the disabled or even kindergartens and schools. Visiting sick or elderly people always touches him especially. "If these people can once again laugh heartily, stroke an owl and enjoy the moment, then a lot has already been achieved," he says. Of course, Achim Häfner can also tell a lot about his owls. For example, that the birds can turn their necks 270 degrees and prefer to eat mice. The residents listen attentively and ask many questions.

Visit also for bedridden patients and female patients

The falconer of hearts goes into every room with his animals. For the people who cannot easily leave their room or even their bed, this is a particularly moving moment. The staff also feel how emotionally and happily the residents react. "They are very grateful, it's so beautiful and moving for us too," says Kathleen Kurz, who is responsible for the social care of people at Johann-Philipp-Bronner-Haus . "That's what we do this work for," she says, "engaging with the people entrusted to us, who deserve to age with dignity." After three hours, Achim Häfner packs his owls back into the car and heads back to the Palatinate. But before that, he invites everyone to visit the falconry. An offer that is primarily directed at the employees. "The invitation is a thank you to the staff," says Achim Häfner, "with the work in the nursing home, the employees here do a great job."

Individual care and support in the Wiesloch retirement home

Many activities have had to be significantly curtailed in all care facilities over the past two years because of Corona. "That's why it's important that we find our way back to an active life together," says Julia Bühler, the director of Johann Philipp Bronner House. The owls' visit will be a topic of conversation for many days to come. The nursing home in Wiesloch, operated by ASB Mannheim/Rhein-Neckar, provides a total of 78 nursing places in small, familiar living areas. In addition, there are 14 residential units for assisted living as well as the offer of vacation, prevention and short-term care for people who only need care and support for a temporary period.

The ASB Mannheim/Rhine-Neckar Region operates five senior citizens' homes in the Heidelberg area as well as a senior citizens' advisory service and several offers for outpatient care services, day care and assisted living in Mannheim, Heidelberg and the Rhine-Neckar district. fek