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The Palms of Largo Senior Living Campus, Sabal Palms Health Care Center, and Saddle Up Riding Club Team up for Equine Therapy for Residents

Who: The Palms of Largo, a 96-acre senior living & health care campus in Largo, is working with the Saddle Up Riding Club in Pinellas Park, a local nonprofit, so residents with short and long term memory loss from Sabal Palms Health Care Center, and residents from other communities on the campus with memory loss, can participate in equine therapy. Therapeutic riding is a growing treatment for rehabilitating a wide range of physical, mental and emotional disorders, including individuals with memory loss. Cypress Palms is also planning on monthly outings for its memory care residents at the riding club.

Sabal Palms is planning a second trip for residents to the Saddle Up riding club. On their initial trip to the equine therapy barn, they learned about the body language of horses, ponies, and a miniature horse, and characteristics of different breeds. Founder and equine therapist Kelllie Sipos notes that horses form a special bond with humans and actually choose the person they want to work with for therapy.

What: Sipos started Saddle Up Riding Club 10 years ago to provide Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies (EAAT), because of her a passion for horses and teaching. In (date), the club added equine therapy for seniors with memory loss. Riders benefit emotionally, through the unique bonds they form with the horses and memories they have. Physical benefits of horseback riding include improvement in joint mobility, balance and coordination, relaxation of spasticity, increased muscle tone, self-confidence through self-image, concentration and motivation to set and achieve goals.

Why: Memory Connection – Equine therapy enables residents with dementia to experience unconditional love and acceptance that horses give. Equine therapy engages many different senses and triggers reactions, memories and feelings not often tapped into in everyday life. Spending time with horses and caring for their needs eases the symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia, according to new research published in the journal Alplazzos. Sipos says, “We give hope where sometimes there is no hope.”

Two of Sabal Palms’ participants grew up with and rode horses and had not stroked one for over 45 years. They are eager for this next outing. One gentleman resident had not been on an outing for over a year since his wife passed, and with a little coaxing from the Life Enrichment Director she persuaded him to attend this special outing to see his favorite horse pals again since he was a veteran stationed in Japan. His unit nurse said that he could not stay awake and alert for over an hour and that he was happy and engaged for over four hours talking about his horse experiences and socializing with the barn staff and residents.

When: Friday, March 20, 2015 – Arrive at Riding Club at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Saddle Up Riding Club, 9301 62nd Street N., Pinellas Park, FL 33782

Saddle Up Riding Club, Inc. Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) Program is to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities through equine assisted and related activities. Saddle Up Riding Club is a member center of the PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), which provides structured horseback riding sessions to children and adults with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Its instructors are nationally certified in therapeutic riding through PATH Intl., and its volunteers and horses have been carefully selected and trained for their roles. For more information, visit www.saddleupridingclub.org.

The Palms of Largo was established with John B. Goodman’s vision to create a world-class intergenerational living community providing housing, programs, and services for individuals of all ages. The Palms of Largo campus offers residential apartments, home health care, independent and assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, respite stays, memory care, end of life care, pediatric care, experiential pre-school and day care, and a holistic spa and fitness center. The Goodman Group manages these Platinum Service® communities. For more information visit www.ThePalmsofLargo.com.

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