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Celebrating National Therapeutic Recreation Week

Overview of National Therapeutic Recreation Week

Since 1984, the second week of July has been dedicated to National Therapeutic Recreation Week, established by the National Therapeutic Recreation Society. This week aims to raise awareness about the significant impact of therapeutic recreation programs and services on individuals with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.

Therapeutic Recreation at Calvary

Therapeutic recreation, also known as recreational therapy, includes a broad range of interventions such as adapted sports, expressive arts, family activities, muscle relaxation, horticulture, and therapeutic outings. These activities help individuals reintegrate, engage, and enjoy time with others in a community setting.

At Calvary, our therapeutic recreation program is dedicated to providing individuals approaching the end of life with the highest possible quality of life. This cornerstone of our care brings joy and fulfillment to many patients, offering them opportunities to spend meaningful time with family, fellow patients, staff, and volunteers. Our commitment to enhancing quality of life is exemplified through a carefully curated calendar of activities that promote social connection, emotional support, and family involvement, all in alignment with Calvary’s mission of compassionate and dignified care.

Reflecting on our Therapeutic Recreation program, a patient shared, “They have all given me something to look forward to each day, besides visits from my family. I also get to go outside and enjoy time with acquaintances, volunteers, and staff…” Another remarked, “You all do an excellent job of creating a warm, nurturing atmosphere. It is really appreciated…”

Benefits of Therapeutic Recreation

  • Improves Quality of Life: Reduces depression, stress, and anxiety while promoting physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being through activities like music therapy, art therapy, and physical exercises.
  • Supports Emotional and Social Well-being: Fosters a sense of accomplishment and enhances psychosocial support within the patient’s community, reducing isolation and improving emotional health.
  • Family Involvement and Support: Includes families in therapeutic activities to create lasting memories, strengthen relationships, and offer peer support, providing a supportive environment essential for both patients and their loved ones.

Recreational Opportunities at Home for Families with Loved Ones in Home Hospice Care

For families with loved ones in hospice and palliative care, therapeutic recreation offers meaningful ways to spend time together and support each other’s well-being. Here are some practical ideas:

  • Practice Mindfulness: Schedule a daily “Recreation or Social Hour” for engaging activities.
  • Music Therapy: Play favorite songs or explore new music together.
  • Art Projects: Engage in drawing, painting, or crafting.
  • Gardening: Involve your loved one in light gardening tasks.
  • Read Together: Share a book, magazine, or poetry.
  • Games and Puzzles: Play board games, card games, or work on puzzles.
  • Share Memories: Look through photo albums and share stories.
  • Exercise: Gentle exercises such as stretching or guided movement.

Integrating these activities into your daily routine can create a supportive, engaging, and comforting environment, enhancing quality of life during hospice and palliative care.

Patient and Staff Perspectives

Calvary’s therapeutic recreation program has garnered positive feedback from both patients and staff. Wanda Collazo, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, shared, “It is truly gratifying to serve a cause, practice one’s ideals, work with people, solve problems, see benefits, and know one had a hand in them.” Amanda Diaz, a Therapeutic Recreation technician, added, “Where life continues couldn’t be more accurate than when working with patients in Therapeutic Recreation. It’s a truly humbling and gratifying experience, knowing that we provide a sense of peace and joy through socialization and activities.”

Honoring Calvary’s 125 Years of Compassionate Care

As we celebrate Calvary’s 125th anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to compassionate care through innovative therapeutic interventions. Therapeutic recreation is vital to Calvary Hospital’s care model, significantly improving patients’ and their families’ quality of life. By engaging in these activities, families can create lasting memories and provide emotional support, making the end-of-life journey as fulfilling and joyous as possible.

A patient summed up the work of Calvary’s Therapeutic Recreation department beautifully: “They make me feel…happy.” We embrace the fact that life’s greatest joys are experienced through the senses and our programs work to engage, enliven, and connect with our patients through them. By supporting and participating in therapeutic recreation, we continue to uphold Calvary’s mission, providing a nurturing and enriching environment for all patients and their families.