Jewel the Horse Visits Longterm Care Residents at Their Windows
By Becca Costello, NET News
June 17, 2020, 8:55 a.m. ·
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Long-term care facilities have been closed to visitors for three months, leaving residents isolated. But facilities have worked to find creative ways to bring in fun and entertainment — like Sheila Carroll, a Lincoln woman who brings her horse Jewel to visit residents right at their windows.
"My heart's kind of always been in long term care, as a nurse," Carroll said. "I usually would take Jewel in the summertime around to visit and I just thought, I knew how the places were struggling trying to come up with activities and the isolation and stuff. So then I started just calling around to see if they would be interested in doing the window visits."
The team has visited at least a dozen facilities so far.
"I remember one of the first visits I went to, the residents had masks on and I remember thinking I could still tell they were smiling because I could see their sparkling eyes," Carroll said. "Even behind the mask I could still tell they were smiling."
Carroll dresses Jewel in bright ribbons and flowers, and sometimes a sparkly unicorn horn.
"I think about the residents, just in that brief interaction that I talk to them, and the things that you find out when you just have a simple conversation," Carroll said. "I heard one as she walked away just talking about how, boy that brought back a lot of memories."
Some talk about riding a horse to school when growing up; others did barrel racing or had horses with their kids. One man lamented that the farm he grew up on had work horses, but none he could ride. A woman recalled volunteering at the historic Pony Express Station in Gothenburg.
"It took them to a place in time that was something far different than where they're at today. So, good memories."
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