National Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Month (4/5)

Introducing Nikki – She has been part of the Wellness team at Elim Village for almost 3 years. She has had the pleasure of working in both The Harrison and more recently, The Emerald. To continue with our National Therapeutic Recreation Awareness campaign, Nikki shares some of the most rewarding aspects of being in Therapeutic Recreation.

“Contrary to what people may think, working as a Therapeutic Recreation Professional goes much deeper than playing a game of Bocce Ball or Bingo. While I do enjoy leading activities that address the physical and cognitive needs of our residents, the thing I love most is the opportunity I am presented with each and every day to build meaningful connections with people who truly inspire me.

Therapeutic Recreation encourages you to look at someone and see them for the person they are. It’s about taking the time to get to know residents on a deeper level and recognizing that behind their exterior is someone who was once (and may still be) vibrant and full of life. It’s about reminding them that age is merely a number and that it is okay to let go and be silly, even when people are watching. It’s about looking through a treasured photo album and listening to the incredible stories and memories that unfold from a bunch of seemingly simple photos. These are remarkable people, with remarkable stories. Working in Therapeutic Recreation has given me the absolute honor and privilege to not only hear their stories, but to be a part of them. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

The difference that can be seen in the overall well-being of our residents through Therapeutic Recreation is far beyond what I ever could have imagined; but as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

We help each other through the challenges and celebrations in life and these residents are as much mentors for us as we are for them. I came into this field in hopes of making a positive impact in the lives of my residents, but little did I know the impact these incredible individuals would have on me.

There’s nothing I’d rather do, and no place I’d rather be than here with the people who inspire me most. This is where I am meant to be.”