by Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy (HETRA)
Participants meet HETRA horses of all sizes from our adorable minis to our astounding drafts. Everyone is always interested in the horses' background story and sharing stores of growing up on farms in days gone by and riding adventures of their own! The horses help participants overcome anxiety and depression, decrease a sense of isolation, and a chance to access the experiences of their past and bring to life the present.
HETRA offers various programs to serve individuals of all ages of various ability levels. 1. Therapeutic Riding is conducted in a group setting and teaches reining and use of aids while incorporating therapeutic benefits such as balance and leg strength. 2. Hippotherapy utilizes the 3-dimensional movement of the horse as the primary therapeutic tool. Goals are therapy directed such as improving balance, coordination, posture, fine motor control, improving articulation and increasing cognitive skills. 3. Therapeutic Carriage Driving combines the knowledge of horses, harnessing, and carriage driving skills using teamwork. Balance, hand eye coordination, and sensory integration are a few of the therapeutic benefits to carriage driving. 4. Equine Services for Veterans is designed to provide opportunities for improvement physically, mentally and socially for military Veterans of any age and type of disability.
This platform would impact the senior population at HETRA in three key areas:
1. Participant in Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies have mental, emotional and physical benefits for the aging population. These equine assisted activities all provide an exercise that increases physical strength, muscle tone, balance, range of motion, hand/eye coordination, along with many other physical benefits. Attendance at the barns benefits a person mentally by keeping people engaged in the community, building relationships in an intergenerational activity and the cognitive processing of complex activities.
2. Enrichment activity for senior living facilities, for examples, tours and grooming activities. These are a recreational, social, and outreach events with a PATH Intl certified instructor leading a "meet and greet".
3. Awareness campaign for active seniors for volunteer opportunities. One of HETRA's greatest assets are the volunteers who dedicate hundreds of hours to our programs. Each year HETRA trains 100 - 150 volunteers to assist with sessions and horse care.
Gifts for Seniors strives to reduce the serious effects of social isolation by coordinating socially intentional visits for isolated older adults. A wonderful gift is the icebreaker sure to bring joy, but often the visit itself is the real gift.
You may recall that last summer Gifts for Seniors invested in a pilot project for a midyear social visit. Anne, one of our board members, and I personally visited with a number of folks ourselves. The elders we met were amazing individuals striving to remain independent in their homes, yet yearning for connection to others and their surrounding community.
Honored in our photo above, meet Inez. Her smile alone tells me it was worth our investment! Although slight in stature, Inez's beautiful spirit and huge heart filled the room. We visited in her apartment getting to know each other, sharing, and laughing about current affairs. She and her all-white cat, Snowball, made a huge impression on us and we found ourselves setting aside gifts for the next visit. It is with great sadness we learned just this past month Inez passed away. She will be dearly missed.
Gifts for Seniors was created with the realization many seniors are living emotionally disadvantaged lives. For them, a spouse has died, children have moved away, or failing health and diminished income have left them unable to reach out.
Please support Gifts for Seniors as we kickoff a new midyear visit in efforts to alleviate loneliness. When you make an online donation, your financial support will provide life-affirming social visits for those most in need. Give the gift of being present!
Friends of Hospice is nearing the completion of the New Serenity House located at 421 North High Street in Morristown. We are in need of funds to finish the renovations so that we can move in this summer and take care of more Seniors at the end of life.
Bridges is requesting support for our Adult Education & Outreach programming which offers a variety of programs, including ASL classes in three levels; workshops and trainings on Deaf language, Deaf culture, and working with the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, assistive device trainings, and employer orientations; special trainings for first responders. Adult Education & Outreach also hosts Community Building programs such as Game Days and field trips for Deaf and hard of hearing adults and is working to develop a Deaf mentor program in conjunction with our youth program. Games Days and community outings provide our senior clients with important opportunities for engagement with their community and each other!
Under Adult Education & Outreach, Bridges also offers LivingWell, our fitness center with classes and personal trainers fully accessible to the Deaf and hard of hearing, as well as a series of educational presentations, workshops, physical fitness assessments, classes, consultations, and social gatherings.
Empowerment & Advocacy, a critical piece of Adult Education & Outreach, provides services such as education advocacy, job training and placement assistance, self-advocacy support, housing, healthcare access, resource referral, and much more. Empowerment & Advocacy also hosts a series of educational workshops and events such as Domestic Violence, Legal Rights, Living Wills, VITA (tax prep assistance), etc.
Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing hopes to serve at least 150 clients through our Empowerment & Advocacy program during FY 2018. LivingWell | Fitness center will serve 90 individual clients and most will meet at least one mutually-determined fitness goals.