As a geriatrician doing house calls and specializing in working through difficult situations, one of my core messages to families is that people with dementia can still have meaningful lives. Dementia can be challenging and frustrating, but it does not mean the end of joy.
Of course, a person with dementia will not have the life they had before. After a while, they won’t even remember a lot of the experiences they had before. But they can find happiness at the moment. Even someone with advanced dementia can enjoy sitting in the sun. They can enjoy the company of another person, even if they don’t remember who that person is. They can still find a chocolate chip cookie delicious. They can still find a spring tulip beautiful.
One of my favorite organizations, one that embodies this idea, is Connected Horse. This unique organization has pioneered equine-guided workshops for people living with early-stage dementia and their care partners.
Connected Horse focuses solely on the relationship between people and horses. Through their equine-guided workshops, Connected Horse provides the opportunity for people living with early-stage dementia and their care partners to be together as they experience non-riding activities with horses.
The human-horse connection helps participants feel relaxed, confident, and happy at the moment. Connected Horse also teaches self-compassion, stress reduction strategies, and communication and awareness practices.
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