Therapeutic Recreation Is Fun and Flexible at the Witherell!

Safeguarding the health of our residents is number one. But we also know that an essential part of well-being, and an important tool in preventing cognitive decline, is keeping seniors mentally engaged and emotionally connected. So, we’ve gotten very creative lately!

Even though group activities are restricted currently, our therapeutic recreation team continues to offer unique hallway-distancing programs, in-house and outdoor entertainment, and technology tools to help our cherished residents maintain important connections to their loved ones.

“Our team is a consistent presence on resident units to engage residents and provide emotional support during this challenging time,” says Carissa Ronish therapeutic recreation administrator at the Witherell. “We are working hard to maintain a strong support system for the residents we serve. We are very proud to have this role.”

To that end, Carissa notes that music programs are in full swing and include weekly outdoor concerts, held on alternating sides of the building to reach all resident rooms, and strolling music by the Witherell’s in-house musicians. Celebrations also continue, with some important modifications. Resident birthdays are celebrated with staff members and include cake, singing and family video chats.  On Memorial Day, residents enjoyed patriotic cupcakes, and flowers on Mother’s Day.

“We take special requests from residents for preferred activity offerings, and travel daily to rooms to distribute art materials, books, puzzles and games,” Carissa explains. “Among the most recent resident favorite activities include hallway bingo, baking, and socially distant ice cream socials!”

To provide emotional support at this time, spiritual readings are offered.  Staff members also created window art and inspirational messages for residents to keep spirits high. While visitation is still restricted, the therapeutic recreation staff makes video calls available by appointment. Video calling gives residents a vital link to the outside world and lets residents check in and catch up with children and grandchildren.

Check out these photos of our “new normal” in therapeutic recreation. Life may be different at the Witherell these days, but with a little creativity and flexibility, it’s lots of fun!

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