Joan Rollason, a resident living with dementia at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, has had a lifetime spent with horses. Now, at 99 years old, she still remains passionate about them.
When Sue Wiffen, Zetland Court’s Deputy Home Manager for the Dementia House, recently sat with Joan, she noticed that the resident had a magazine about horses on her lap. While she was stroking the magazine, Joan said:
You never forget the way a horse feels… but I will never feel it again.
Staff member Sue was so moved that she knew the Home had to do something about it.
Sue immediately contacted an old friend of hers, who owns a stable yard, and asked her to make the yard safe and accessible for Joan’s wheelchair. Then, to guarantee the surprise, Joan’s son Mike and Sue drove Joan to the stable yard without letting her in on where they were going.
As soon as they arrived, Joan’s head turned towards a beautiful black horse in a field. Her eyes shone with an irrepressible twinkle of amazement. Zetland Court’s Deputy Home Manager Sue said:
Joan had the time of her life. She was still a natural around horses – much better than we were! She knew how to feed the ponies, lead them and talk to them, just like a horse whisperer.
Kelly, the stable yard’s owner, was also amazed about how Joan could tell the height of all the horses at a glance.
Resident Joan greets one of the horses affectionately.
After spending time with most of the horses and ponies, resident Joan wanted to visit an excitable black horse she had spotted when they first arrived, so they all accompanied her. Resident Joan pulled herself up to the fence and whispered to the horse. Sue said:
Once she started talking to him, the horse was absolutely calm. It was amazing!
Zetland Court’s staff members have now created an album of Joan’s visit to the stable yard, so she can look at the photos and reminisce.
[Summary: Joan Rollason, a 99-year-old resident living with dementia at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, has spent her lifetime with horses. She recently visited a stable yard, where she was able to remember how to deal with horses.]