Recreation therapy plays a vital role at Fairview Manor

By Mary-Ellen Harris

Restorative care is one of the most effective models and philosophies of care for preventing avoidable declines in long-term care residents.

At Fairview Manor (FVM), the Recreation Therapists play a vital role in supporting this philosophy of care, while enriching the lives of the residents.

A Recreation Therapist is a professional with skills that are used to set goals and objectives for residents to find meaning through leisure by promoting optimism, independence, healthy lifestyles, and by teaching leisure-related skills.

Recreation Therapists assess the resident on admission, quarterly, and in the event of any significant change. The Recreation Therapists then develop a plan with set goals and interventions. These goals are developed in conjunction with the resident and family member as necessary. This information is used to develop an individualized plan of care.

At FVM the recreation program includes Social Recreation and Therapeutic Recreation. All programming is developed to meet the resident’s needs in any or all of the following areas: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, and social.

Social Recreation encompasses large group activities, such as parties, bingo, and entertainment. Therapeutic Recreation provides therapeutic stimulation beyond the general activity program, e.g., one-to-one visits and engagement in meaningful conversation/music, cognitive enhancement activities, and smaller group activities like baking and crafts.

FVM’s Recreation Therapists include: Sheila Lefebvre, Tammy Lowry, Julie Rice, Ashley Charlebois, Kelly Bowles, Kayla Nicols, and Cheryl Moore.

Recreation Therapists strive to provide therapy that encompasses a broad range of interests. Examples of programs include crossword puzzles, brain teasers, happy hour, entertainment, games and exercise classes.

Recreation therapists use many techniques to persuade residents and motivate them to participate, which is especially challenging during the winter months. To combat the winter blues, Recreation Therapist Julie Rice has worked hard to engage residents in programs titled “armchair travels.” These programs use videos, slide shows etc., to create a sense of “being there.” Residents “travel” to sunny spots and indulge in the cultural aspects of the country they are visiting, including a taste of the cuisine when possible.

Last month, residents travelled to Sochi, Russia to better understand where Team Canada was headed. Next month, residents are off to Mexico for nachos, margaritas, and beautiful visual images of Mexican beaches and culture.

There’s no question that residents like the Recreation Therapy offerings. “We really enjoy the special meal programs,” say FVM residents Muriel and George Currie. “They taste a little bit like home.” Resident Annie Rintoul also appreciates the efforts of the Recreation Therapists. “They try to keep me going and I look forward to their visits,” she says.

 Mary-Ellen Harris is Assistant Director of Care at Fairview Manor