I agree with Lori's response... Some
residents at the nursing home I work at are so excited when they
see me, because they know that I am providing fun activities
for them. I have a special relationship with my residents, because
they see me as more of a "friend" and "confidant" than anything
else. And it's an incredible feeling, to have that relationship
with someone, and to be able to make their final days more pleasant.
Thursday, July 15, 2004 at 21:46:56
Recreational Therapy is a joy jointly
shared. I work on a demential unit with residents that light
up when I walk on the floor. I realize that I need them as much
as they need what activities I can use to enrich their day.
Sunday, February 09, 2003 at 08:49:09
Improved quality of life, better community
integration, increased creative expression, reduced anxiety,
increased independence, new experiences, restorative, resources
Saturday, January 20, 2001 at 00:53:43
I teach a class at Western Oregon
University. I would like teachers to have an understanding of
the use of therapeutic recreation techniques that they may apply
in the classroom. After all the student in the classroom is "different" than
the student that was in the classsroom 25 years ago. The class
is called Adventure in Education. For action photos and more
see www.wou.edu/ExtendedPrograms Go to Adventure in Education
and click there. Have Fun!
Monday, July 10, 2000 at 10:49:58 (CDT)
After graduating H.S. I worked as
a waitress in the main dining hall of a retirement community.
One night at work I slipped and fell, inturn I had to have surgery
and was placed on "light work status". A short-term position
was created for me in the Activities Dept. on the Alz. Unit.
Inevitably, after my release back to "full-work status", I was
given a permenant spot. I knew right away that TR, with a specialty
in Gerontology, was the profession for me!! Shostly after this
I moved to WA State, where I worked as an Act. Assist. at an
Assisted Living Ctr., which actually was multi-care. This is
where all of my heart-warming stories are bound... Anyone in
this profession undoubtable has too many tales to share, how
can you possible choose one reflection over another? Your HEART,
that is why one should be ing this career path-for the love of
it, nothing else. As I sit here, with thoughts flying through
the brain of all the wonderful and not so wonderful times, I
think I'll share the fisrt event that came to my mind as I read
the above critierion. ...Throughout the year and a half I worked
at this ALC, there were times I took residents outside of the
facility, for lunch or shopping-whatever. One afternoon, as I
was talking to one of the residence, he said "matter-of-factly",
but also laughing, how good a Big Mac would taste. The next week
we were eating at McD's. But about half way through lunch he
had tears streaming down his cheeks. When I asked what was the
matter, he said "You don't know how good it feels to be a civilian
again". My heart still does flip-flops, with all of my vivid
memories. I knew when I first began working on that Alz Unit
that if I can make a person smile until it is thier time to go,
then that is what I want to do.
Good-luck to all us TR's!!!!ASU,West
Friday, February 25, 2000 at 23:43:07 (CST)
After graduating H.S. I worked as a waitress in the
main dining hall of a retirement community. One night at work I slipped and fell,
inturn I had to have surgery and was placed on "light work status". A short-term
position was created for me in the Activities Dept. on the Alz. Unit. Inevitably,
after my release back to "full-work status", I was given a permenant spot. I
knew right away that TR, with a specialty in Gerontology, was the profession
for me!! Shostly after this I moved to WA State, where I worked as an Act. Assist.
at an Assisted Living Ctr., which actually was multi-care. This is where all
of my heart-warming stories are bound... Anyone in this profession undoubtable
has too many tales to share, how can you possible choose one reflection over
another? Your HEART, that is why one should be ing this career path-for the love
of it, nothing else. As I sit here, with thoughts flying through the brain of
all the wonderful and not so wonderful times, I think I'll share the fisrt event
that came to my mind as I read the above critierion. ...Throughout the year and
a half I worked at this ALC, there were times I took residents outside of the
facility, for lunch or shopping-whatever. One afternoon, as I was talking to
one of the residence, he said "matter-of-factly", but also laughing, how good
a Big Mac would taste. The next week we were eating at McD's. But about half
way through lunch he had tears streaming down his cheeks. When I asked what was
the matter, he said "You don't know how good it feels to be a civilian again".
My heart still does flip-flops, with all of my vivid memories. I knew when I
first began working on that Alz Unit that if I can make a person smile until
it is thier time to go, then that is what I want to do.
Good-luck to all us TR's!!!!ASU,West
Friday, February 25, 2000 at 23:40:52 (CST)
RT is fundimental within the street youth community.
Yet i am unhappy to see that more has NOt been posted in regards to therapeutic
recreation with substance misusing youth!!! yet i also do not know where to find
Wednesday, January 26, 2000 at 20:38:36 (CST)
Providing a sense of joy and satisfaction.
Fun! That is what we are about. Laughter! Why do we try and complicate
it? Why are we continuously trying to be that which we are not? Once you
have seen it (joy, genuine laughter, fun!), you never forget it...
Friday, May 21, 1999 at 16:13:27 (CDT)
I worked with adolescent sex offenders
for a couple of years. When I first started, there was little that they
were allowed to do. Eventually this changed. We took a group whitewater
rafting on a well-known river in the southeast. When we stopped for lunch,
our guides took some of the guys to body surf in some small rapids. My
partner and I watched from above on a rock. For one of the few times in
their lives, the walls came crumbling down. They were acting like kids!
Laughter, joy, and merriment! Something these kids would never forget.
Nor I. That is what this profession is all about. To provide those moments.
I witnessed the same on an overnight horseback riding trip as well. Dr.
Paul Haun had it right!
Friday, May 21, 1999 at 15:36:57 (CDT)
One of my clients who initially
very withdrawn wrote a story during one of my groups, to my surprise it
was about me and how he had come so far with my help.
Tuesday, March 16, 1999 at 21:19:28 (CST)
way to water skiing, one of my patients was being thrown around his seat
as we were driving. He was unable to maintain his balance or position with
our stops, starts, turns and any road bumps. When I asked him about it,
he stated this was a chronic problem and had been ever since his injury
about 5 years prior. He participated in our water skiing session finally
being able to sit-ski around the lake without assistance for about 10 minutes
at a time before becoming too tired to hang onto the rope. Of course, he
had a blast and his smile was a mile wide. On the way back to the hospital,
I noticed that he was maintain his seat position regardless of what was
happening with my driving. Even a sudden stop to avoid a collision didn't
throw him. I pointed this out to him just before we reached the hospital.
He observed himself during the rest of the trip and commented as we unloaded
that it was a first for him not to have difficulty maintaining his position
when riding in a vehicle. Two weeks later, I followed up with him to see
if that new balance was still being maintained, or if that was just a fluke
somehow. To my surprise, he was still able to maintain his position in
vehicles. In fact, to this day (it's now been about 4 years since we did
that activity), he is still able to maintain his position. Neither one
of us is real sure exactly what he learned during that water ski session
that assisted him in improving his balance and torso control, but whatever
it was - he sure is glad he "got it". Just more anectodal evidence that
RT does improve function.
Thursday, January 14, 1999 at 19:14:29 (CST)
A patient of mine, about 4 years
ago, received a TBI as a result of an MV/pedestrian accident. He had been
hospitalized for about 3 months when I began working with him. The team,
patient and SO decided he should participate in our Outdoor Program and
try Sit-skiing. The patient had not been participating in his therapies
and was noncompliant with almost all medical treatment. He was also quite
inappropriate with staff and his SOs. He had not smiled, laughed, or reasonsed
anything out since his accident. The morning of the activity, the team
had determined that, based on the patient's behavior, he would probably
be in rehab at least another 3 months. On the way to the ski slope, the
patient continuously spoke of suicide. He indicated he was going to kill
himself as soon as he got to the mountain and I turned my back. I knew
he would never be alone or out of direct site for even a second. His SO
was with us and, needless to say, was quite upset about his thoughts. Once
we got to the slope, the patient indicated that it looked quite scary and
he wasn't sure he wanted to participate. I told him that was fine, I just
wanted him to enjoy the snow, the companionship of people outside the hospital,
and take a look at the equipment. He met his ski instructors and, as requested,
took a look at the sit-ski. He then requested to smoke and, while smoking,
agreed with his instructors' requests to "just sit in the ski for
a bit." Once they got him seated and strapped in, I asked him if he
would like to be pushed around to see how it felt to move in the ski. He
agreed and, after moving a bit on the flats, asked if he could be pushed
up the slope a bit to see what it was like to move downhill. We did this,
then asked if he would like to watch the other sit-skiers getting on the
lift. He agreed. After watching the lift load for a short time, the patient
asked if he could try the lift - not realizing the only way down was to
ski! Off we went for a lift ride with his SO along with us on her skis.
At the top of the bunny slope, the patient looked down the hill and told
his SO he would go down if she would. On our way down, we had a small incident
where the sit-ski did a complete 360 degree turn, as in a roll-over. I
was convinced, as it happened, that I just lost this patient's interest
in skiing (and possibly the rest of life)! But, he came up belly-laughing!
The first laugh in over 5 months! Again, his SO was in tears, but this
time not from fear. The patient asked to take another run and begged to
flip over again. After about 5 runs (but, to his dissapointment, no more
flips) he asked for another smoke. During this cigarette, the patient decided
he wanted to continue to ski next year (we had gone up on the last day
the area was open), only on two skis. Now, I was hesitant that he would
ever stand up ski, however, I did know he could bi-ski; consequently said
it would not be a problem. He then said "If I'm going to ski next
year, I guess I ought to stick around". I was ecstatic - not only
had we reached his first laugh, but his first instance of reasoning. I
figured he meant that he better stay in our area rather than moving back
to his home where there was no skiing available. After this statement,
the patient was quiet (and appeared to be thinking very hard) for about
4 minutes. He then said, "I guess if I'm gonna stick around, I'd better
not kill myself." Welp, the SO began crying again and it dawned on
me what on earth he was talking about. I tried to stay rather nonchalant
with a reply of "Yup, I guess you'd better not." Tho, I'm sure
my tone of voice was not so calm. After that statement, the patient thought
some more, for another 9 minutes or so. He then said, "Well, I guess
if I'm not gonna die, I'd better get busy and get better, huh?!" Needless
to say, my heart jumped and I wanted to join the SO in her tears. Instead,
I indicated my excitement in my progress notes upon return to the facility.
What was really exciting is that the patient meant exactly what he said.
The next day, he began cooperating with the hospital personnel and his
program. He worked harder than most any other patient we've ever had. And,
he was discharged to our outpatient program within 2 weeks (rather than
3 months)! Now, what's really funny is that the next year he came back
to the ski program and tried bi-skiing and tried standup skiing. After
those two experiences, he thanked all the ski instructors (another first,
thanking people for helping him) and then said "I'm glad you let me
try this, but don't ever invite me again to ski. I hate skiing!" There
is another success with him; however. He did try adaptive biking with me
and we found the perfect bike for him. He now rides with his family all
over and back again and says "I have finally found my sport!"
- Wednesday, November 05, 1997 at 18:57:25 (PST)
I worked in a research hospital
for people with catastrophic illnesses. We had patients from around the
world. A little boy came in very sick from Hong Kong. He had leukemia but
it was unclear if this was his first bout or whether he fell of remission.
He was finally in another remission and it was Easter. I had planned an
Egg hunt for the children on Pediatrics Unit but this little guy was too
fragile to join the fun. I had 25 students from Cal Poly Pomona volunteering
that quarter and I asked one young man to sing songs with this little boy.
In a few minutes the student came out and in frustration told me that the
boy wanted to sing a song in Chinese and he didn't know how to read chinese
music. In looking at the music book I noticed that it was a hymnnal and
it was music with Chinese translation. I went in the the little boy pointed
to a specific song. I played the tune and he sang and sang and soon his
Dad came in and sang with him. I had someone get a tape recorder and we
taped the singing. It was shift change and all the nurses came in to listen.
The song was " I Found a Friend in Jesus". As I was putting the
tape recorder away, the social worker came up to a research Dr. who translated
for the little boy's father everyday. She asked if he had helped with the
letter to the Mother telling her the end was near and she should come quickly.
I cried for hours as I mourned for the pain that little boy had to endure.
But I also know that I was able to meet his needs through leisure in a
way that no one else could do. We meet our patients as people and help
make each day have meaning and quality. I am very glad to have been touched
by this young man's life.
Melany Bailey Spielman
- Friday, October 31, 1997 at 16:51:59 (PST)
I have worked with people with
profound mental retardation and physical disabilities. We spend so much
time trying to help these people become "normal" like us, I don't
feel we spend enough time being with people where they are. One woman I
worked with could not talk, eat, walk, or even shift her body weight in
her own wheelchair. One day I sat with her, and just blinked with her.
Every time she would blink, I would mimic her back. She smiled, she laughed,
we communicated, we connected in a space that was hers.
- Tuesday, September 23, 1997 at 11:11:39 (PDT)
I did a bit of volunteer work
with an agency last summer. Was a spanish speaking lady in the facility.
Her greatest to participating in anything was not being able to speak english.
Another volunteer had said she really loved Pepsi. So, I went to the concession
and bought her a Pepsi. Her lit up. After that she liked me and would follow
me around. I learned some spanish, and she found someone to befriend. The
best part was that I made her day that day.
- Tuesday, September 09, 1997 at 09:46:35 (PDT)
While working at a community
mental health center in the St. Pete/Tampa, FL area, I worked closely with
a 16 year old client with ADHD. The client's hyperactivity limited her
academic progress, but not her creativity. During a creative arts program
I facilitated, this particular client drew a picture of mountains utilizing
a variety of colors to emphasize the background, but limited her choices
of color when sketching the mountains. Many of her peers laughed at her
drawing, but I collected and filed it with the other drawings from the
group. Later in the year, the community's juvenile welfare board sponsored
an art contest to select the artwork displayed in the following year's
calendar. With the client's permission, I submiitted her drawing in the
contest. Out of over 1500 entries, my client's drawing was chosen as one
of the top twelve and used in the juvenile welfare board's calendar. The
excitement in this client's eyes when she received the notification letter
made me realize why I enjoy being a recreation therapist as much as I do!
After the experience her self-confidence rarely wavered, as the pride she
had in herself boosted her performance in scholastic and extracurricular
activities. I've found remembering others and taking time to provide them
opportunities for success even though we are overworked and really don't
have the time, can often make a life-changing difference.
- Saturday, July 12, 1997 at 11:10:22 (PDT)
One day at the nursing home about
a year ago, we had a woman sitting by the window of the Activity room.
she was mumbling to herself over and over again "I wish I saw a bird
today. I wish I saw a bird today." It was a cold damp day and there
were none to see. Remembering that I once knew how to make birds out of
origami, I ran to the desk and got out a piece of paper. "Mrs. X",
I said, "Watch me make a bird". She watched in awe as I folded
a simple crane. When I was finished she put it lovingly in her pocket.
It was only when I looked up that I realized that about 8 other residents,
who had been previously walking aimlessly around the room, had stopped
their pacing, gathered around, and were watching me intently. On the way
home from work that night, I stopped at the bookstore and bought a book
on Origami. I have carried a pocket of small paper squares with me ever
since, and have become known as "The Paper Magic Lady".
- Wednesday, April 02, 1997 at 06:45:49 (PST)
I work with Alzheimers victims.
We have a resident who rarely talks at length, and if she does, it is in
response to questions. The other day she kept saying "I want to go
home, I want to go home." I asked her "Tell me about home".
She started to tell me about a house at the end of the street, describing
the house, yard, and neighborhood at length. A few days later, her daughter
said to me that it is a shame Mom doesn't seem to remember anything at
all. I told her about the house described. She looked at me with a look
of astonishment and told me that this was the house she grew up in as a
little girl. The thing that hits me about this is that I am fairly new
to the position and none of my predecessors or the other staff reports
that she could go on and reminisc at length like this. It tells me the
value of asking open ended questions and then TAKING THE TIME TO LISTEN
TO THE ANSWER.
- Wednesday, April 02, 1997 at 06:40:56 (PST)
I am very new to the profession
of therapeutic recreation since I will not graduate until May 1997. However
I had a great internship this past summer at a rehabilitation hospital.
The biggest impact I had was with a patient with SCI. He was young, 18,
and in fact, he was the youngest patient I had all summer. He spent eight
weeks at the rehab hospital which is quite long with the short length of
stay. Well he really made progress and came out of his shell. He got to
the point that he would come to the recreation room after he was done with
his other therapies. He got to know everybody quite well. It was sad when
I said goodbye to him. However a few of us went to visit him a few weeks
later at the current facility he was in. He was so surprised to see us
and he got a little emotional. I felt so good because he was genuinely
glad to see us. When I think about it I felt I made a tremendous impact
on this individual. He went out in the community numerous times, learned
to do things for himself, and was introduced to new leisure skills. I will
always remember this individual. He made me want to really do recreation
therapy and I hope I continue to have similar experiences when I become
a professional in the field.
- Tuesday, March 11, 1997 at 11:52:29 (PST)
I was interviewing a man with
Macular Degeneration, eye disease that effects the macula of the eye,no
central vision. During our interview he cried as he told me how he gave
up golf (his whole life) and sold his very expensive golf clubs. He no
longer golfed but still volunteered at the golf course. Not being able
to golf really tore him apart. His program plan was to start with golf
swing move out to the driving range and then eventually move out to the
golf course. Through his eight week stay at the blind rehabilitaiton center
he began to gain confidence in himself and eventually we made it out onto
the local 9 hole golf course. I served as his "golf buddy" assisting
him to find the golf ball and directing him in the direction of the hole
and reading the greens.and I had a volunteer of his same golf ability to
play along side of him. As we approached the last hole he pared. I think
he is still smiling. This man was so greatful with all we had done for
him he went home and purchased himself a new set of golf clubs and got
back into the swing of things and started his life again!
- Sunday, March 09, 1997 at 20:30:44 (PST)
Throughout the days, there are
a lot of little sucesses thatI have enjoyed. The biggest impact that I
have made yet though is with a 59 year old female with a dx. of depression.
I workin a LTC facility and she really was out of place and not interestedin
the activities that I provide our residents. She alwayscomplained but never
would participate. Two months ago I askedher advice on how to arrange our
Resident of the Month board.I was surprised when she jumped at the chance.
From that point on I included her in decorating projects and spent a lot
of 1:1time just talking with her. Soon she came to Resident Council as
a self-proclaimed advocate for the residents who cannotvoice their opinions,
and has volunteered to run a movie night program.Talk about Empowerment!
She is now working towards going homeand is also going to start a few hours
a week as a paid employee ofour facility answering phones. The other day
she told me ThankYou for helping to bring her back into the world. Boy,
does that feel great. With the average age of most of our Residents being80
and mostly with dx. of Alzeheimer's you don't always getto see such a concrete
result from your efforts. This experiencehelps me to know that I really
can make a positive difference in the lives of those I work with. Thank
you for letting me share.
- Monday, March 03, 1997 at 20:36:19 (PST)