MOBILE HORSE UNIT VISITED BEACON HILL at EASTGATE
The Retirement Community and Equine Assisted Development Hosted a Horse Parade for the Older Adults Living in its Independent, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Residences.
“Real Happiness” is the name of the Mobile Horse Unit – a service of the Equine Assisted Development (EAD) – and that is precisely what it brought to Beacon Hill at Eastgate and its residents this Thursday, September 16, for a two-hour visit starting at 12:30.
The horse parade began at 1919 Boston – Beacon Hill’s independent living residence and from there on to the assisted living and skilled nursing residence at 1845 Boston, just west of independent living. Many residents were outside to nuzzle the horses nose-to-nose and to stroke their necks. This evoked memories among many of the residents who either grew up with horses or remember working on family farms where horses were used to pull the plows.
Equine Assisted Development (EAD) – is an evidence-based horse therapy center located in Grand Rapids and offers equine-assisted psychotherapy and equine-assisted learning, using the EAGALA model, which is considered the gold standard for psychotherapy and personal development using horses.
EAD recognizes the value that horse therapy provides to those who may be in emotional distress and because they have been restricted from providing the services they had in the past, due to COVID restrictions, EAD expanded its horse therapy by using the mobile horse unit. So instead of their in-person, hands-on model at the farm, they are bringing horses to the people — to those who need it most like residents in Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care – among the very residents who live at Beacon Hill.
COVID-19 has been particularly difficult for those who reside in Beacon Hill’s Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care because of the very strict visitation requirements which has made in-person visits and other get-togethers with family and friends challenging to arrange. The nursing staff at the retirement community recognizes this and has been especially diligent and creative in arranging for special activities to help compensate for the virus-related restrictions.
Amanda Daggett, Director of Nursing at Beacon Hill, gave the staff considerable leeway in caring for the residents. She urged them to come up with creative ways to meet their nutritional needs, to encourage mobility, and to prevent depression. Staff passed out puzzles, set up hallway games, doorway exercises and took residents for walks – even in wheelchairs. “Humans are social and our environments were created for social interaction,” Amanda explained.
Amanda said she did not limit her staff. “I gave them latitude to walk with our residents, to sit
with them, read books to them, or play games.” She explained, “It could be difficult at times to schedule visits with family so in a sense, we became their family. We also used all types of technology to help them connect with those family and friends they wouldn’t otherwise see.”
About the equine visit, Amanda said, “Beacon Hill is delighted to host the “Real Happiness” visit with the horses from Equine Assisted Development. With limitations placed on us and our residents for on-site activities, we greatly value our partnership with organizations that approach us with creative and engaging ideas. So many of our residents are pet lovers and this brought them great joy and lots of smiles.”