The past couple of years have seen Meadowood form and deepen a community relationship we’ve found as beneficial as inspiring. It began with our equine therapy program at Fun-E Farm T.O.O. in Gilbertsville, PA. The program connects Meadowood residents living with dementia with the incredible nurturing power of horses (along with other farm favorites like barn cats, goats, sheep, and alpacas.)
What began as a six-week pilot has blossomed into a collaborative partnership, demonstrating Meadowood’s commitment to proactively reaching out to the community to ask, “how can we help?” Check out our story below to learn how connecting residents with our equine program led to opportunities for our entire community to pitch in to provide a critical need for the farm: paper! How Unforgettable Experiences at Fun-E Farm T.O.O. Led to an Innovative Paper Recycling Program
How Unforgettable Experiences at Fun-E Farm T.O.O. Led to an Innovative Paper Recycling Program
When Becky Anhorn, Meadowood’s Director of Fitness and Wellness, kicked off the pilot for equine therapy with Memory Care residents, the program was a huge success immediately. Residents had incredible experiences caring for the horses, connecting emotionally with the animals and with each other throughout days spent learning all about their new equine friends. Eileen Joseph, Meadowood’s Certified Dementia Professional, was particularly moved by one resident’s story.
“She was an equestrian during her early life, and her excitement was palpable on each visit. The first day we entered the stables, she just started crying — it was familiar to her. She said, ‘Oh my God, the smell alone, I am so excited.’ She didn’t miss a beat. She walked in with no fear and kissed the horses. She was given a shovel and a pail and effortlessly mucked out the stalls. She never thought twice — she knew how to braid the manes, how to pick up the brushes — as though it were yesterday,” Eileen shared.
With the program becoming a fast favorite, Becky has had the opportunity to spend a lot of time at the farm with residents. During a weekly visit, she noticed the farm had bags of shredded paper sitting in the stalls and inquired what they were for. The shredded paper is used in the stalls as bedding because it is more absorbent than most wood shavings. Plus, it’s recycled, non-toxic, biodegradable, and soft for the horses to enjoy — so the farm is always looking for donations.
Knowing Meadowood residents often fill up paper recycling stations in addition to the paper the office staff discards, Becky saw an opportunity for Meadowood to pitch in for Fun-E Farm T.O.O. Sharing our paper could be a great way to show gratitude for how generous the farm is to the community and the tremendous impact they’ve had on our Memory Care family. So Becky passed the idea to Patti Loughridge and Nancy Kocher, who jumped into action to work out the logistics with the farm.
Paper Recycling Program for Beloved Community Horse Farm Yields Unexpected Benefits
With the Meadowood partnership, Fun-E Farm T.O.O. has begun to specialize in working with those living with dementia. But they also have a long history of supporting the special education population. Twice a week, the farm picks up paper from recycling bins around the Meadowood community not only to help keep the horses warm and comfortable, but also to provide employment to young adults with special needs. These youngsters shred the paper for the horses before the stalls are lined with it.
Then, after the paper has been thoroughly used up by the horses and mucked from the stalls, it is added to a compost pile. Finally, when it’s ready, it is spread onto fields as fertilizer for hay and other grain crops. With all these uses and reuses, sharing our recyclable paper has resulted in multi-faceted benefits for the farm and community.
The Power of Partnering with Our Community
We quickly realized we could also share our used towels and linens with the farm to be used as bedding, and we are currently exploring more ways to support the farm and strengthen our relationship. We are deeply proud of the partnership and can’t wait to discover what else we can achieve together.
If you’re interested in a life plan community that treasures its connections with the community and strives to serve it, request a brochure or schedule a visit today. If you want to learn more about daily living at Meadowood straight from our residents, check out our testimonials.