Recreation for people with disabilities

 

Recreation is a constructive outlet to taking a break from the mundane things of life. Being able to stop the every day grind and do something different brings  satisfaction and enjoyment. It is the same thing for a person with a physical disability. Feeling stuck and limited to the home can wear on their self-worth as a human being. The cares that they do on a day-to-day basis will become monotonous and frustrating. The only thing that would redirect their attention and allow them to take a break from their everyday grind would be television, which in time becomes  unfulfilling. So, it is important for them to have a hobby . Something that they enjoy. However, the things they used to do, they feel they can’t do anymore because of the limits their disability imposes. Fortunately that is not true. While they are in the hospital and going to rehab, they will be able to access resources that a Recreational Therapist knows about. These therapists have been trained and educated on the resources that are out there that will make it possible to have a life outside of their cares and the home.

Why a Recreational Therapist?

It would begin to get very boring staying at home all day every day for the rest of your life. Usually a person with a disability will experience bouts of depression and become unmotivated. Being home-bound starts to bring on a sense of worthlessness and thoughts of suicide. Most people that have been injured and disabled were once active and adventurous.  It would be difficult to just sit there on a daily basis and feel unproductive. However, Recreational therapy breaks through the barriers of depression and makes it possible for a person with a disability to be included in leisure activities. As was stated before in the beginning of the blog, recreational therapist have been trained and educated on the resources that are out there that will make it possible to have a life outside of their cares and the home. They will provide a pathway that will lead towards a healthy and happy life.

What is a recreational therapist?

A recreational therapist is one who practices recreational therapy.  According to Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the definition of recreational therapy is,” 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 restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.” in other words they will find innovative ways to make it possible for you to enjoy the hobbies that you once loved doing. Through that they will bring a balance in physical and mental health.

What Are the Healthy Outcomes of Recreational Therapy?

According to the VA Salt Lake City health care system, there is an abundance of positive health outcomes that have been discovered through recreational therapy. Those outcomes are:

Improved Physical Health

  • weight loss
  • muscle strength
  • balance

Improved Psychosocial Health

  • community reintegration
  • decreased stress
  • social independence

Improved Mental Health

  • less boredom
  • positive release of emotion
  • constructive use of leisure time

Programs In the State of Utah For Recreational Therapy

There are programs in the state of Utah that provide recreational therapy for people with physical disabilities. Here are a few of them:

  • TRAILS   It is a program with the rehabilitation center at University of Utah healthcare. This program, is also affiliated with the Spinal Cord Injury Program at the University of Utah Hospital as well
  • Another one is the National Ability Center, located in Park city Utah. It is a place that specializes in outdoor activities i.e. rafting, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, canoeing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, camping, horseback riding.
  • Another is Salt Lake County adaptive recreation. Some of the programs that are available at the center are competitive swimming, winter theater, archery, power wheelchair soccer, otters swim club for youth with autism, sledge hockey, intellectual disability basketball, Saturday night dances, and bowling.

Your life must go on

It would be easy to just sit at home everyday and do nothing but, what satisfaction will it bring? Over a period of time the feelings of being forgotten and left out would start to creep in. However, if a healthy choice is made to get out in the world and be social and fill your life with enriching hobbies, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself and except your physical disability. Recreational therapy will give you the opportunity to be educated on the activities that are out there that you can do. An article that was written in the Salt Lake Tribune talked about a man 29 years old that was run over by a car at the age of two, had the opportunity through the Trails Program to Sail a boat (Adaptive) in the East canyon reservoir. There are a lot of possibilities through recreational therapy that will open the doors to a happy and healthy active lifestyle. So get out there and stop moping around the house. There are motivated and trained professionals ready to assist you in your passions. Give yourself the opportunity to have an adventure and enjoy life.

Photo copyright to Richard Gillin

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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