Monthly Archives: July 2013

Inclusion Within Our Facilities

Recreational therapy is defined as “a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restriction to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition” (American Therapeutic Recreation Association [ATRA], 2009). Recreational therapy, an aspect of therapeutic recreation, is a skilled therapy provided as active treatment (as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).  With this definition in mind how many times do we hear, “Oh Mrs. Jones can’t go bowling because she can’t stand up.”  or “Mr. Adams would not like that activity because he has a speech impairment due to his stroke.”  What is your response to comments like these?  Often times we put the barriers on our clients because of their disability.  What are we saying to them?

Recreational therapy embraces a definition of “health” which includes not only the absence of “illness”, but extends to enhancement of physical, cognitive, emotional, social and leisure development so the individual may participate fully and independently in chosen life pursuits. The unique feature of recreational therapy that makes it different from other therapies is the use of recreational modalities in the designed intervention strategies.

Our job as Recreation Therapists are to look beyond the disability and look at the individual as a person who can accomplish anything they put their minds to.  We are not the person to say “Oh you will not be able to do that, just forget about that dream.”  Our role is to tell our clients, “Okay lets DO IT!”  The next step is for us to adapt to their wants and needs to make it HAPPEN!  I often put myself in my clients “shoes”, if all I heard all day is; “No you can’t do that” or “That is impossible.”  How would this effect me?  How would I feel?  What would my self esteem be like?  

I have worked in long term care, rehab, assisted living and now adult day care for the past 20 years.  Over the years I have learned not to underestimate the seniors I have worked with.  Given then right opportunity, environment and tools, they can and will accomplish what they set out to do.  For example; While I was working in an assisted living community we had a young man, about the age of 27, admitted to our building.  This young man was a paraplegic with multiple other medical diagnoses.  The most important thing I learned from him is not to give up.  He was a giant in this building, over coming ever obstacle in his way to achieve his goals.  Over the years I have maintained a friendship with him and have watched him grow as a person.  This young man who was very ill when we first met is now one of the strongest individuals I know.  He plays the piano and clarinet for local nursing homes and assisted livings, he lives on his own, he attends Weber State University and composes music.  He has been a youth counselor for his church camps, gone rock climbing and his biggest accomplishment…. being in a half marathon.  He and a friend trained for months to be in this marathon.  He bought a specialized chair, worked on his arm muscles and his friend pushed his chair miles upon miles.  He fulfilled his dream!  What do we do to assist our clients in full filling their dreams?

I take my clients out bowling once a month at the local bowling alley.  I will take any client who wishes to go regardless of their disability because this outing can be adapted for them to succeed.  There are many adaptations to bowling for those with disabilities such as; side bumpers, assisted bowling tools, light weight balls and much more.  Once I was able to get my staff to realize anyone can go bowling it took some educating with my staff to assist those who stayed behind to also participate in bowling.  Many of us have heard of hallway bowling or Wii bowling and know, once again, with some adaptations, they too can bowl.  I had gone bowling with my clients one time and had asked the staff who stayed with the other clients who where not able to go, to play hallway bowling with them.  One staff member stated “Mr. Smith can’t bowl, he can’t even stand up.  How can I bowl him and the others.”  I explained to her even though he could not stand up he could bowl, just place a chair in front of the “alleyway”, give him the ball and show him how to swing his arm back then forward and then release the ball.  Upon my return Mr. Smith stated “Thank you, I have not done that in years.  You helped bring back some fond memories.”  

Inclusion is a term used by people with disabilities and other disability rights advocates for the idea that all people should freely, openly and without pity accommodate any person with a disability without restrictions or limitations of any kind (  Does your recreation program meet this definition?  What changes can you make to your program?

Each program is different due to culture, client, disabilities and environment but there is one element that is consent and that is we are Recreation Therapist striving for the same outcomes.  We want our clients to succeed, have the highest quality of life and to fulfill their ever dream.  And we are the professionals who can make it happen.  




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Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


Encore Creativity

Calling anyone who has not sung for years or those who have sung their whole lives!
Encore Creativity, the nation’s largest choral
program for older adults, is coming to Salt Lake!
Choral workshop with Encore
Creativity founder Jeanne Kelly
Free to the public
Tuesday July 30, 2:00-4:00 PM
Salt Lake City Public Libray 
Main Library Auditorium
210 East 400 South
Public parking garage available under library on 400 South

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Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


August Calender Ideas

Here are some calender ideas for August.  August does not have any holidays!  What are you planning for your clients!  

This is the month we celebrate…

American Adventures Mont
Audio Book Appreciation Month – Audio books are one of the fastest-growing areas of the publishing industry. Many books are now available to download—some for free. Simply type the book’s title and “audio book” into your favorite search engine.
Bargain Lovers Month – Celebrate Bargain Hunting Week Aug 5-11. Garage Sale Day Aug 5, Thrift Shop Day Aug 17, and Secondhand Wardrobe Day Aug 25 this month.
Beat the Heat Month – Although the Dog Days end Aug 11, it’s still hot. Keep your cool this month by celebrating Fan Friday Aug 16.
Clown Month (International) – We also celebrate International Clown Week (Aug. 1–7), Clowning Around Day Aug 1, and Lucille Ball’s birthday Aug 6 this month. 
Fair Days Month – August is the month for state fairs. More state fairs are held in August than in any other month of the year. Find a fair near you. Plan “A Fair to Remember” this month, complete with cotton candy, elephant ears, and carousel music. 
Family Fun Month – Plan a “Family Fun Day.”   Play Family Feud.
Geology and Gemstone Month – We also celebrate Wear Your Birthstone Day Aug 3, Carat Day Aug 7, “Rock Around the Clock” Day Aug 20, and A Gem of a Day Aug 30 this month. Play a game of “rock, paper, scissors,” make your own pet rocks purchase a tabletop Zen garden and paint a rock paperweight.
Home Business Month – Invite someone in your area who has a home business to speak this month. If you could start a home business, what would it be?
Parks Month – Visit your local park and celebrate Paint a Picture in the Park Day this month. 
Pastimes of Colonial Virginia Month – A month to discover the music, games, storytelling, and other past times of 17th- and 18th-century Virginia. 
Sunflower Month – Plant sunflowers in your garden or do a sunflower craft.
Win with Civility Month – Ask everyone to be civil to one another this month. (We know they always are, but this is a good excuse to emphasize being kind and courteous.)

Music, Games, Hobbies, Arts & Crafts

American Artist Appreciation Month – We also celebrate American Artists’ Day on Andy Warhol’s birthday Aug 6 this month. 
Kitchen Crafts Month – A gift from the kitchen can be a great way to say “thank you.” Make gifts in a jar or a bag.
Golf Month – The PGA Championship (Aug. 5–11) and the USGA Championship (Aug. 12–18) are held this month. We also celebrate Ben Hogan’s birthday (Aug. 13) and Puttering Around Day (Aug. 23). 
Horseshoe Pitching Month 
Merry-Go-Round Music Month – Also known as carousel or calliope music. Play some carousel music and watch the 1956 movie Carousel this month.
Model Sailboat Month 
Popsicle Stick Crafts Month –
Rock Collectors Month – See if anyone has a collection they would like to share.  Adopt some Pet Rocks. 
Sing a Round Month – You have heard of “sing-along,” but what about “sing a round”
TP Roll Crafts Month – We also celebrate Toilet Paper Day (Aug. 26) this month.

Clothes & Fashions

Flip-Flops Month – Plan a “Flip-Flop Friday.” Decorate Flip-Flops with visiting children. 
Sunglasses Month – Have everyone get out their sunglasses and have a “Shady Fashion Show.” Go on an outing to check out this year’s selection of sunglasses. See if you can find some huge, funny ones. Take pictures and post them on your bulletin board, if possible.

Featured Foods

Canning Month – Of course you “can” reminisce about canning foods from the garden. Also, learn about canning and the history of home canning this month. 

Catfish Month –  “Catch of the Day” Day (Aug. 9) 

Corn Dog and Cotton Candy Month – Serve corn dogs and cotton candy this month. 
Eat Dessert First Month – “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~ Ernestine Ulmer. 
Family Meal Month – Dedicated to bringing dinner back to the table. Families are encouraged to eat dinner together.

Goat Cheese Month – Celebrate Goat Cheese Month by learning more about the health benefits of goat cheese.

Kool-Aid Month – We also celebrate Kool-Aid Days (Aug. 9–11) this month.
Lemon Month – It is also Lemonade’s Birthday (Aug. 20), Lemonade Lucy Day (Aug. 28), and Lemon Juice Day (Aug. 29) this month. 
Macadamia Nut Month – Hawaii’s commercial plantations, first planted in 1921, remain the principle producers of macadamia nuts. Since August is the month Hawaii was admitted to the union (Aug. 21),
Melon Month –  Watermelon Day (Aug. 3) and Melon Monday (Aug. 19) for more.
Mustard Month – We also celebrate Cutting the Mustard Day (Aug. 3) this month.
Panini Month – the panini is a sandwich typically served hot or grilled with ciabatta bread. You can get very creative with ingredients while making paninis. 
Pineapple Month – Make a pineapple upside down cake.
Popsicle Month – Make your own popsicles this month.
Trail Mix Month – Celebrate GORP Day (Aug. 14) and Trail Mix Day (Aug. 31) this month.

People / Professional Pride

Friends Forever Month – We also celebrate Girlfriend’s Day (Aug. 1) and International Friendship Day (Aug. 4) this month. FYI: International Friendship Month is celebrated in February.
Health Unit Coordinators Month – Health Unit Coordinators Day (Aug. 23) 

Focus on Health & Wellness

Cataract Awareness Month – Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world
Foot Health Month – Celebrate Wiggle Your Toes Day (Aug. 6) and schedule pedicures and toenail paintings this month. Put your “best foot forward” and ask a podiatrist to talk about taking care of your feet. 

Happiness Happens Month – We also celebrate Happiness Happens Day (Aug. 8) this month.

Immunization Awareness Month – The goal is to increase awareness about immunizations across the life span, from infants to the elderly. Don’t forget your flu shot.
Medical Alert Awareness Month – Are your residents protected with medical alerts?
Relaxation Month and Napping Month – We also celebrate Pamper Yourself Day (Aug. 5), Spa Day (Aug. 11), and National Relaxation Day (Aug. 15) this month.
Simplify Your Life Month and Week (first week in Aug) – Encourage people to simplify their lives, reduce the clutter, and streamline. Discuss ways to do it—such as getting rid of the things you don’t need or buying socks that are all the same color so you don’t have to sort for the mates. Remind everyone that many people become happier or more content when they simplify their lives. 
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Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


Pet Therapy contacts in Utah

Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA), Parent Organization to Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.)

Serving Utah, Idaho, Montana and Nevada

 PAWS (People & Animals Working to Serve), a Program of Active Re-Entry

Serving the counties of eastern Utah including Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah, Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan Counties, including the cities of Vernal, Roosevelt, Price, Castledale, Huntington, Moab, Monticello and Blanding

 Therapy Animals of Utah, a Pet Partners Affiliate

Serving Utah

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


TRT Class-August 2013

TRT class flyer

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


Time Survey

Do you ever feel like administrations are unaware of the time you spend not leading group activities? We would like you to fill out the time survey for TRT/TRS professionals. We would like to use this information for training administration and others on all the different tasks involved in our job. Please email the survey to


Recreation Department Time Survey

Name (optional)_________________          Place of employment_________________

Type of facility______________________________________________________

Position/title please circle one:   Activity aid    TRT    TRS   MTRS

Number of residents you serve (on average) _____________________________

Please list the average time you spend on each task per week– based on a 40 hour week.  Please round you time to increments of 15 minutes.  If you do not do one of the tasks listed then just leave it blank.  If you use the “other” category please describe the task and include the minutes on the blank line.  *If you do this task monthly instead of weekly please write “month” next the number of hours.

Example: Resident Council Meeting _2 /month____




            MDS interviews ______

            Skills reviews/assessments/care plans _______

            Quarterly notes ______

            Activity participation logs_______



Meetings                                                                                                       T


            Morning/stand up_______

            Fall meeting________

            IDT/ care plan meeting________


            In-services  __________

            Residents’ counsel ________

            Psychotropic meeting_______


Preparation/Planning for Activities                                                     


            Creating monthly calendar_______


            Gathering Supplies_________

            Writing activity plans________

            Planning/coordinating big events_______

            Scheduling outside entertainment________

            Planning outings_______


Implementing/Facilitating Activities                                                    


            Setting up activity_______

            Gathering residents & returning residents______

            Running the activity_______

            Cleaning up after the activity_______

            One-on-one activities________


Ancillary tasks                                                                                            


            Other committees_______

            Volunteer program_______


            Employee recognition program______

            Animal program_______

            Garden program_______

            Family/ resident problem solving meetings________

            Helping with meals_______

            Passing the mail_________

            Answering call lights________

            Smoking with residents________

            New hire orientation & staff trainings___________

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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Uncategorized