National Therapeutic Recreation Month is normally held in February of each year, but July celebrates National Therapeutic Recreation Week, so you have two opportunities to take advantage of this great idea that benefits people in Oxford and elsewhere around the country, to engage in therapeutic exercise. The primary beneficiaries of this focus are on getting more exercise for seniors and dementia patients, but therapeutic exercise is something that your whole family would also benefit from. Senior home care can help to provide this kind of regular exercise because the in-home senior can enjoy all the benefits of meaningful recreation and exercise while under the direct supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced caregiver. This will ensure that seniors only exercise within their personal capabilities while deriving the maximum benefit of being more socially and physically active.
What is therapeutic recreation?
Ideally, therapeutic recreation includes activities that expose individuals to physical, mental, and social activities, so they can get the most out of life. People involved in programs like these generally become more self-confident and have a greater sense of well-being, because they become more active participants in life, and derive more pleasure from being socially engaged with others.
Typically, such programs might be comprised of yoga sessions, crafting, woodworking, creative arts, and active games which include physical exertion and exercise. Gardening is another popular form of therapeutic recreation because it involves participants actively growing things, appreciating nature, and understanding how the growing process works and is improved by regular care. Some organizations also sell vegetables from their community garden and use those funds to pay for group trips and events which then promote additional therapeutic recreation.
Benefits of therapeutic recreation
Some people have the mistaken notion that recreation is a waste of time, and that it is only a passing amusement for people who have nothing better to do. Experts on physical and mental health would disagree with this notion vigorously because they are well aware of the many benefits imparted to participants in therapeutic recreation. Just being involved with an activity that includes others can be highly therapeutic, especially for seniors who might not have many other chances to socialize.
The social aspect of recreation is something that should not be overlooked because it provides a sense of well-being and connection to others that could be crucial in the life of an elderly person. When the recreation also involves some form of physical exercise, it can be doubly beneficial, because that provides an opportunity to keep active and to use muscles that might not otherwise see usage. Staying fit can be one of the most powerful benefits of therapeutic recreation, if done regularly and if it includes good exercise for the body.
Goals of therapeutic recreation
Many people who become involved in therapeutic recreation programs do so after having experienced a major setback in their lives, for instance, the loss of a loved one or spouse. This kind of situation can degenerate into depression or some other form of mental illness if it isn’t addressed. One of the goals of a therapeutic recreation program is to combat such feelings of depression, so they don’t worsen and leave a person feeling overwhelmed by loss.
Rather than allowing a senior to withdraw, and lose self-confidence and self-esteem, involving them in therapeutic recreation can restore their sense of purpose, and give new meaning to their lives. It can provide people with a great many new social connections, and can also make them more aware of the support that is available to them. It can help seniors re-discover themselves, and become much more active in the community and with others like themselves. By providing opportunities to participants to exercise their social skills, and perhaps to learn new skills and hobbies, seniors will often acquire the tools they need to deal with stress and to battle any emotional issues they’re faced with.
The growth of therapeutic recreation
The value provided by therapeutic recreation programs is now being recognized by more and more communities, and that has spurred a much greater interest in delivering such services to seniors and others who may benefit from them. The U.S. Department of Labor has declared that there are currently well over 19,000 professional recreational therapists in this country, and this number is expected to grow dramatically over the next several years, especially in geographic areas where the needs of seniors are addressed more.
This is great news for everyone because it means that there will be a greater focus on involving seniors and others in therapeutic recreation, and that should mean more people will be spared from the emotional distress of depression and other mental issues. With greater availability of professionals to conduct these programs, it should allow for more such programs to be organized, and many more individuals to be served.