Friday, January 1st, 2016
Can horses teach people with early-stage dementia useful lessons about how to cope with their disease?
That’s the question behind a pilot project at Stanford University’s Red Barn, which recently hosted five early-onset dementia patients along with their caregivers for a series of workshops with horses.
Foreseeing a tidal wave of dementia cases with the aging of the baby boomers, organizers hope to test whether equine therapy can counteract the feelings of isolation and hopelessness often experienced by newly diagnosed patients. If successful, the approach could be replicated in stables and barns across rural America, where there can be a shortage of organized services for families coping with dementia.
The Connected Horse Project is the brainchild of Paula Hertel and Nancy Schier Anzelmo, both equestrians who have worked for decades in the senior services industry.