For the elderly with and without disabilities, therapeutic recreation works similarly as for younger adults and children. However, there are differences as well. One example is that therapeutic activities need to be age appropriate. For example, where a recreational therapist may play with blocks with a young child, he or she would not do so with an adult as it is not an age appropriate activity and, thus, would become a dignity issue. From the other side of things, a recreational therapist might not do a news related activity with a toddler for the same reasons. A great way to solve this is to have inter-generational activities within the therapeutic recreation program, which include a trip to the circus, holiday parties, and group craft projects.
An essential part of any therapeutic recreation program, activities, such as music programs, news, exercise programs, bingo, games, arts and crafts, and pet therapy, can help the elderly with and without disabilities to reminisce, maintain their orientation, maintain or improve hand/eye coordination, work on behavior management, help with sensory stimulation, and so on. Although many activities within a therapeutic recreation program take place in a group situation, the program is person-centered and adapted to each person’s abilities.
To learn more about therapeutic recreation, please visit ATRA’s very informative website.