Senior Activities Best Practices Refresher

Rebecca Birotte M.A., Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and CLC, shared her insights with program staff in December, providing a refresher on the how’s and why’s of effective memory care activities for Friendship Center members. “Activities are medicine,” she said. “That’s my business motto.”

Rebecca owns and operates Los Angeles-based Healthy Solutions, a consultancy providing activity and recreation therapy training for a variety of health organizations, including senior day care and memory care providers. “Healthy Solutions is the only activity leader in California offering a 36-hour seminar that teaches a therapeutic paradigm,” notes Rebecca. “Activities are medicine. That’s our company motto.”

Effective activities, says Rebecca, should engage one of the four aspect of healthy human life: the physical, emotional, cognitive and social. “I teach the term ‘PECS’,” she says. “All categories of Friendship Center’s recreation—and the goal of therapeutic activity—is to maintain our levels of PECS functioning.”

Things go wrong when people of all ages are not using leisure time in positive and productive ways. “Our physical, emotional, cognitive, social functioning declines when we are not using our free time in positive and productive ways,” she says, adding that the pandemic’s quarantining has exacerbated the problem for all members of the population. “We’ve seen increases in depression, domestic violence, anger, divisiveness and addiction to drugs, alcohol and prescription med-seeking.”

At Friendship Center we might appear to “just” be playing games all day, but all activities are planned with maintaining PECS functioning, and work to create a Program with the clients quality of life in mind.