How Senior Citizens Can Benefit From Equine Therapy

Managing everyday living can be difficult for senior citizens, especially those with health conditions that usually come with age.

The elderly segment of the population is often prone to a lot of physical and mental health concerns that can sometimes be devastating and frustrating, as well.

An aging population needing care

In the United States, there are approximately 47 million seniors estimated by the US Census Bureau, which makes up 14.5% of the total US population aged 65 and older.

Most of these senior citizens have more than one chronic health problems, such as arthritis, declining eye health, deafness, and total blindness, as well as degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Treating these conditions can be quite challenging, due to the decreasing immunity and reduced biological healing capacities of the elderly, which could result in prolonged or reduced treatment outcomes.

A plausible and effective solution

A facility that offers equine therapy Virginia may hold the key to providing the elderly with the means to improve their treatment outcomes and eventually, enhance their quality of life.

Where one might see seniors walking on sticks or frames and managing their way around wheelchairs, they end up seated on the backs of a thousand-pound horse.

Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) also known as horse therapy, has been changing the landscape of therapy especially for the elderly.

A common and popular equestrian therapy program which involves therapeutic horseback riding has been found to provide mental health benefits to seniors and residents of aged care homes throughout the United States.

Promotes better healing and a sense of purpose

Aside from horseback riding activities, these programs incorporate patient-horse interactions such as allowing elderly patients to pat, kiss, and cuddle their therapy horses.

Residents of aged care homes going through an equestrian therapy program have claimed that it has brought them a sense of purpose, as well as bringing them joy, enrichment, and the will to be stronger and healthier in life.

In facilities such as a center offering equine therapy Virginia, patients with dementia have also been found to have shown significant improvement after undergoing a customized horse therapy program.

Mental health outcomes have greatly improved and have been extremely positive, such as patients with limited cognitive abilities who claim to have established a mental connection with their therapy horses and greatly improved their mental state.

Numerous studies have found equine-assisted therapy (EAT) beneficial for the elderly as it has been proven as a valid process of improving the emotional, mental, and physical health of senior citizens. This has led to focused programs aimed for the elderly and has seen dramatic impacts which have improved walking and balance, cognitive abilities, speech function, memory, emotional, and mental states.