People with dementia are being offered therapeutic horse experiences

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A charity in Surrey that provides therapeutic horse-riding sessions to disabled children is expanding its services to include people with dementia.

The Horsley, Bookham, and Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has launched a new program called “Tea with a Pony.”

The inaugural event will be held at Badgers Farm in Effingham on Friday, offering mental and emotional benefits, according to the chair of the charity.

Trained volunteers will assist residents of The Beeches care home in Leatherhead as they enjoy tea and cake, along with the opportunity to interact and spend time with the horses.

The sessions have been specifically designed for adults impacted by dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and individuals in stroke recovery.

Sheri Johnson, the chair of the Horsley, Bookham, and Leatherhead RDA, highlighted the mental and emotional benefits associated with pets, acknowledging that many older individuals are unable to keep their own pets.

The loss of companionship due to dementia can be challenging for individuals, and research has indicated that pets can play a crucial role in reducing stress and anxiety, both of which can be exacerbated by the condition.

“Tea with a Pony” offers a unique opportunity for individuals who may not be able to ride but can still experience the mental and emotional benefits of being in the presence of these intuitive and affectionate creatures.

Michelle Daniels, the manager of The Beeches care home, expressed enthusiasm for the new experience and anticipated positive outcomes for the residents. She eagerly awaits their feedback and the benefits they will derive from the sessions.

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Therapeutic horse experiences are being offered to people with dementia as a means of providing emotional and mental support. The initiative aims to harness the therapeutic qualities of horses to enhance the well-being of individuals living with dementia.

These sessions typically involve structured interactions between individuals with dementia and trained therapy horses. Participants may have the opportunity to stroke, groom, or simply spend time in the presence of the horses.

The calming nature of horses, coupled with their intuitive ability to sense emotions, can have a positive impact on individuals’ mood, reducing stress and anxiety.

The therapeutic horse experiences offer a unique and engaging sensory stimulation, allowing participants to connect with the animals and the natural environment. These interactions may evoke memories, trigger positive emotions, and promote social engagement. The presence of horses can also encourage physical activity and improve balance and coordination.

These programs are often organized by charities, care homes, or riding for disabled associations, with trained staff and volunteers facilitating the sessions. The goal is to provide a fulfilling and enriching experience for people with dementia, enhancing their overall quality of life and well-being.

Source : bbc.com