Horses Bring Moments of Joy for Memory Care Residents

Posted on

Nov 13, 2019

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The therapeutic qualities of interacting with horses has long been known.

Horses have an un-canny ability to reduce anxieties, restore a sense of calmness and bring great joy to those around them. This is especially true for those who are challenged by Alzheimers disease, as well as other forms of dementia. The act of petting, feeding and engaging with these gentle, intelligent creatures establishes an organic connection that many other methods are not able to achieve.
Creating opportunities for individuals living with dementia to experience high-sensory activi-ties, such as interacting with horses, is important in memory care communities. Families want to know that their loved ones are engaging in surroundings that are stimulating and meaning-ful to them. And, since so many families have long enjoyed having pets in their households, ac-tivities that involve animals in memory care communities are particularly well regarded.
Therapy that involves multiple sensory stimulation activities often leads to a reconnection to past experiences for those with dementia. Animals are a great example of creating this kind of connection. Many might consider a visit to a stable simply as a fun activity, which it certainly is. However, there is a deeper therapeutic value that can prove transformational, especially for memory care residents. When Porter Place Memory Care, in Tinley Park, IL, recently introduced full-size horse therapy at their community, six of their residents saddled up and rode through the courtyards. It was fun, but the experience also helped them connect, both to the animals and those around them.
Families should seek opportunities to engage their loved ones with memory loss with animals. Whether it is a majestic horse or a small puppy, the experience can bring beautiful moments of joy to all.
Editors Note: Article submitted by Bobbi Kelley, Community Relations Director for Porter Place Memory Care, Tinley Park, Illinois. Bobbi may be contacted at 708-781-1050.

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