Recreation looks a little different these days at the McCormick Day Program. Our recreation staff have discovered that facilitating recreational programs on-site now is quite different than before we were closed due to COVID-19. The changes are beyond staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), monitoring clients to reduce close contact and performing additional cleaning protocols. Providing person-centred therapeutic programming has always been a priority here at the day program, but staff feel this is much more achievable with the smaller groups we have been welcoming.
Staff spend time reviewing clients’ interests prior to their scheduled day and prepare programs to suit their preferences as much as possible. Much consideration goes in to the pairing of clients in the program rooms as well. Smaller groups have allowed staff to initiate client projects such as more elaborate wood-working projects, including use of a wood burner or building Adirondack chairs. As you can likely imagine, projects of this magnitude were very difficult with our previous group sizes.
Staff are able to dive into all sorts of hobbies and interests through the use of technology as well. Finding interesting information and videos related to airplanes, music of interest, poetry in a familiar language, and much more is at our fingertips through tablets, laptops and other electronic devices. Additionally, staff have observed that clients are much more content in the environment, displaying less anxious behaviour. This change is likely attributed to the environment being calmer and not over-stimulating.
In addition to providing on-site recreational activities, our staff have been busy expanding the programs offered to our virtual participants. Staff facilitate three recreational programs each weekday through Zoom. Clients who were initially a little reluctant to try Zoom recreation programming have hopped on board and are finding the social connections very meaningful and the activities enjoyable. We are currently in the process of formally evaluating our Zoom recreational programming and look forward to learning how we can further enhance this virtual service for our participants.
There are so many benefits to recreation for both the clients and caregivers. If you have been reluctant to participate in the phone or Zoom recreation, we can’t recommend it enough. Whether for social, emotional, physical and cognitive stimulation, having a connection and developing rapport with the day program has a positive impact on one’s on-site attendance and participation when a spot becomes available. Please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the recreation team to discuss your recreational options.
As a reminder, additional information, program ideas and the Zoom calendar can be found on our Caregiver’s Corner website. This site now includes helpful information for clients who are once again attending the day program on-site, including program times and drop-off and pick-up instructions. Take a look and let us know if you have any questions.