Submitted by Christian Health Care Center

“Recreation’s purpose is not to kill time, but to make life; not to keep a person occupied, but to keep them refreshed; not to offer an escape from life, but to provide a discovery of life.” -Author Unknown

The staff and volunteers at Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) in Lynden have taken this motto to heart.

christian health care center
The Christian Health Care Center staff is committed to keeping residents engaged. Photo courtesy: Christian Health Care Center.

Through its therapeutic recreation department, CHCC is committed to providing numerous activities aimed at ensuring residents have ample opportunities to exercise and socialize. Their paid staff and community volunteers love keeping residents engaged and active all year long.

It’s not just for the fun of it all. Therapeutic recreation has been shown to provide many benefits related to emotional, physical and mental well-being.

What is therapeutic recreation, and how does it benefit those who live in a long-term care setting?

In short, therapeutic recreation programs are designed to facilitate patients’ physical and emotional well-being by providing activities that help improve cognitive, social and motor functioning. Structured activities are often part of a holistic program that has been designed to help individuals keep their minds and bodies fresh in all kinds of ways.

christian health care center
Yukon visits Christian Health Care Center residents on a regular basis. Photo courtesy: Christian Health Care Center.

Even a single 20-minute exercise session, for example, can help people significantly reduce their anxiety and stress. Activities such as board games and bingo, both favorites at Christian Health Care Center, help improve hand-eye coordination, fine-motor skills and gross-motor movement. Activities like this can be both challenging and rewarding for both mind and body; all of these activities can be designed with this in mind.

Some of CHCC’s residents’ favorite activities include: music, socializing, scenic outings, worship services, pet visits, movie nights and bingo. Sounds fun, right?

Activities also are designed to improve cognitive health. People with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can see improvements when involved in a therapeutic recreation program.

One study, for example, showed that individuals involved in therapeutic recreation had fewer days in which they exhibited dementia-related behaviors. Therapeutic recreation resulted in greater engagement and more displays of positive moods.

christian health care center
Numerous studies link activities with improvements to cognitive health. Photo courtesy: Christian Health Care Center.

Other studies link recreational therapy to increased activity and alertness, fewer falls and less use of medication. And exercise programs, especially among frail adults, can lead to greater cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure and increased flexibility, strength and ambulatory skills.

Christian Health Care Center staff know that positive, engaged interactions are critical to maintaining and even improving health and well-being, regardless of age or ability.

For more information, contact CHCC and ask about how a therapeutic recreation program can make life better in a long-term care setting.

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