Bill Calvert

Bill Calvert pets Mirados De La Loma Verde Tuesday morning as part of Grace Place’s twice-weekly sessions to assist people with mild to moderate memory loss.

Participants in the Grace Place program got a special visit Tuesday morning as David and Paula Poynor brought two horses for the group’s members to pet and feed. 

Grace Place is a program for adults with mild to moderate memory-loss. It offers four-hour sessions every Tuesday and Thursday that feature social, mental, physical and spiritual stimulation while offering a respite for caregivers. 

A typical four-hour session of the program provides a hot lunch, along with opportunities for mental and physical stimulation with activities that encourage socialization like music, puzzles and games, along with physical exercises that the participants are able to do in their chairs, said Grace Place Executive Director Bill Strandlund.

“The whole idea is to create an environment for them to stimulate whatever needs to be stimulated,” he said. 

He said something like Tuesday morning’s visit with horses offers a different kind of stimulation for many of the group’s members, and it’s an experience that most members likely don’t get to have very often.

“It’s just something else to do that is visual and tactile,” he said. “They get to actually see and touch and be close to large, gentle animals like that.”

Along with the benefit the group’s members receive by getting out and participating in activities with other people, Grace Place also offers a break for caregivers who may need some time on their own, Strandlund said.

“They can leave them with us, entrust them in our care,” he said. “And they can go do the things that they might not be able to do.”

Strandlund said the Grace Place program costs $30 per four-hour session to help cover its expenses, but if a participant can only pay a portion of the $30 or can’t pay any of it, they will still be allowed to participate in the program.

“We will never turn anyone away for inability to pay,” he said. “We’ll find some way to do it.” 

For more information about Grace Place, call 256-736-4260, email or look for Grace Place Cullman on Facebook.

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