Friday, September 18, 2009

102-Year-Old Nursing Home Resident
is ‘Back in the Saddle’ Again

Nursing home resident Betty Libbey was back in the saddle when her dream of riding a horse again came true at the Equest Therapeutic Riding Center at Spring Creek Farm in Lyman. An avid rider as a child and throughout her teenage years, Libbey, now 102, is officially the oldest rider at Equest. With the assistance of a mechanical lift and the able hands of Equest staff, Libbey was positioned onto a gentle Appendix Quarter horse named Dee who patiently obliged as Libbey and Equest staff members led them around an indoor ring and then for a walk outside. After the ride, Libbey celebrated her accomplishment with a champagne toast with family members who came to share in her dream.
A former resident of Eliot, Libbey currently resides at Sentry Hill at York Harbor in York. She recalls her father taking her horseback riding faithfully for many years and her passion for it never waned. Says Libbey, “Horses have always represented freedom to me. I wanted to be a jockey but women didn’t do those kinds of things back then. I can’t believe all this production today is just for me. This is a day I shall remember with great pleasure!”
Libbey’s wish was submitted to the Maine Health Care Association’s (MHCA) Live Your Dreams program by the staff of Sentry Hill at York Harbor. Live Your Dreams is designed specifically to encourage and help Maine’s long term care residents realize their hopes and dreams at any age, despite health challenges. MHCA member facilities submit requests to the program on behalf of their residents but ideas and wishes must be meaningful to the resident and come specifically from them. Examples of dreams are relationship-based wishes or lifelong aspirations like learning to dance, riding in a race car, riding in a hot air balloon, or going to a sporting event.
Dream fulfillment is made possible through a combination of long term care facility staff and volunteer support, corporate sponsorships, and individual donations of time and resources. This wish was coordinated by Sentry Hill, Equest, and MHCA.
Photo caption: Betty Libbey got her wish to ride a horse again fulfilled. (Courtesy photo)