Horses of Hope bring smiles to Creekside Village nursing home

(WNDU)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 9:30 PM EDT
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Nursing homes are one of the hardest hit communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

16 News Now learned how a little 'horsing around' is putting smiles on those living at one Michiana senior care center.

The Horses of Hope traveled to 43 other American Senior Communities nursing homes before making their stop here at Creekside Village in Mishawaka.

You could say the staff here goes to great lengths for their residents.

"Anything unique that we can go out of our way and do really, really boosts how their feeling inside during this time," said Creekside Village Customer Care Coordinator Megan Stearly.

Wess Jackson and his family walked the horses window to window, giving their undivided attention to the people behind the glass.

"The relationship with the horses is so cool. They know--they sense when that resident connects and they'll settle down and they'll lean into the window," said American Senior Communities Board Member Wess Jackson.

The horses might not realize how important of a job they have during these tough times.

"Really it's all about bringing a smile to everybody's face. Maybe to bring some hope and positivity during these hard times especially during the restricted visitation during COVID. A lot of people can get down or not be in the best mood. So bringing the horses around is in the hopes of bringing a smile to everybody," Stearly said.

Jackson says the interaction is just as important to him and his horses as it is for the people they visit.

"The employees and the residents are so gracious. Them being in the circumstances they're in, they still want to interact with us and want to talk to us. It's fun. These guys--these horses, are essential workers for emotional health," Jackson said.

And that's straight from the horses mouth.

The Horses of Hope will end up visiting 87 different nursing homes, part of the American Senior Communities network.

They'll visit Riverside Village in Elkhart Tuesday morning at 10:00 A.M.