RESIDENTS of an Alloa care home enjoyed a festive treat earlier this month when an alpaca came to visit.

Annie the Alpaca visited Parklands Care Home in Alloa to allow residents and staff to meet and pet the five foot tall animal.

Residents were encouraged to get to know the gentle creature who recently had her first birthday. Annie met some residents in the lounge and also visited others at their bedroom doors.

Animal assisted therapy has been shown to be very beneficial in elderly care as physical contact encourages communication, can reduce stress and anxiety, and even improve motor skills and self-esteem.

The visit was organised by the care home with The Alpaca Trekking Centre in Stirling who brought Annie to Alloa for her first visit to Parklands.

Angela Martin, care home manager of Parklands, said: "It's not every day you get an alpaca wandering the corridors of our care home.

"We were all overjoyed to meet Annie and her visit made the atmosphere of the home just phenomenal.

"She brought lots of smiles to everyone's faces and she definitely spread festive joy.

"As well as being lots of fun, animal therapy is also hugely important for our residents. It can be really relaxing for them to meet animals like Annie.

"At Meallmore we're committed to delivering exceptional standards of care and activities to our residents and this first visit from The Alpaca Trekking Centre is just one of the ways we enrich the lives of our residents. We can't wait to welcome them back next year."

Meallmore Ltd, who runs Parklands, recently achieved the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) Gold Accreditation with fewer than 1,000 organisations in the whole of the UK currently holding the accreditation.

Only 62 of those are classified as care providers – with just six in Scotland.

Parklands is a purpose-built care home situated at 60 Alloa Park Drive and provides nursing care for the elderly and specialist services for people with dementia.

Visit for more information on Parklands.