Associates at Life Care Center of Collegedale, Tennessee, recently got to play a role in fulfilling the dream of a local senior.
Betty O’Haire, an assisted living resident at Elmcroft of Hamilton Place, shared with her caregivers that she really wanted to ride a horse again, and the facility’s staff looked for a way to make that happen.
It just so happened that Jala West, director of social work at Life Care Center of Collegedale, owns a horse riding company.
“The director of Elmcroft was familiar with my horse entertainment business, and he came by and asked me if I would be willing to participate in the Second Wind Dreams program,” said West. “I was honored to be asked and blessed to be able to share that joy with their assisted living community.”
Second Wind Dreams is an international non-profit organization that reaches out to the community to make dreams come true for seniors.
“I find that horses are therapeutic on many levels and have no age barriers, from young foster children to our elderly population,” said West. “There is something magical that happens between people and horses, a special bond that transcends language, age or disability.”
On March 27, 2015, West brought one of her gentlest horses, a rescue horse named Ransom, to Elmcroft for O’Haire to ride.
“She threw her hands up when she saw Ransom,” said West. “We were told that she likes lime green, so Ransom was decked out in lime green from his mane to his tail and sparkles on his hooves.”
Elmcroft associates and O’Haire’s family members gathered to watch the magic as she rode Ransom in the back courtyard. A local TV station also showed up to film the occasion, and Ben Stiefel, executive director at Life Care Center of Collegedale, presented her with a lime green gift bag.
“I truly enjoyed seeing her face light up while she was riding and waving to her audience,” said West. “She may never get this opportunity again, and it was a privilege to be able to make her dream come true. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such a wonderful life and the ability to share my love for His magnificent creatures.”