Hens (Yes, Hens) Help Seniors Overcome Loneliness

As we grow older, it becomes all the more important to find activities that allow us to still feel active and engaged in society. By embracing such a concept, we can – in many ways – help combat loneliness and potentially slow down the impact of certain illnesses.

In the U.K., Equal Arts, an organization that focuses on “improving older people’s lives through creativity,” have opened up people’s eyes to HenPower. This program is currently offered in more than 40 care homes and is designed to “empower older people to build positive relationships through hen-keeping with improved wellbeing, reduced loneliness and reduced depression.”


Those who participate in HenPower become hugely involved in the life of hens. They help inspect eggs to see if there’s a living being inside, then once hatched, help transport the chicks to a pen in which they have outfitted to support the birds’ need for proper food and habitat.

Once the hens begin to fully develop, participants carry them out to larger coops and make sure they have what they need to thrive.

Beyond the day-to-day care and maintenance tasks in which these seniors perform, they’re also encouraged to participate in Hen Roadshows. Here, individuals can take the hens to schools, or community events, and share their knowledge.


“My advice to people that’s low is to say ‘do a new interest, something that’ll challenge ya.’ I mean, I was lukewarm about the hens at first, but when I think back now, I’ve never regretted it. I never miss a session,” said Tom Appleby, 89.“I’ve made some great friends through HenPower. What I like about the HenPower is that you’re not entertained, you’re involved. You make decisions for yourself and you work as a group. I love to tell everyone how it’s changed my life, about how it’s changing older people’s lives.”

-Adam Grant

On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” host Marissa Semkiw and a panel of medical experts discuss the growing issue of social isolation among seniors. You can watch this episode below.