The Value of Therapeutic Activities

Copyright © 1994 - 2019, All Rights Reserved 
 Holly Harmon, ADC 
P.O. Box 363
Housatonic, MA 01236

Type of Activity and Examples of Therapeutic Value 

Social Activities  - E.g. Birthday Parties, Afternoon Social, Intergenerational Program, etc.

Prevents isolation, provides opportunity for the development of relationships, climate of acceptance, opportunity to express need to give and receive love, opportunities to nurture and provide caring, touch, opportunity to have balance in ones life, promotes joy/happiness, provides support, companionship, nutrition and hydration, helps meet psycho-socio needs, improve mood and behavior, etc.

Educational Activities - E.g. Word Games, Current Events, Intellectual Pursuits, Academic Classes, Health Care Groups, etc.

May help expressively aphasic resident to improve verbal ability, stimulates thought processes, may help cognitively impaired retain abilities for as long as possible, provides challenges leading to mastery experiences, maintains contact with the outside world, helps orientation level, etc.

Spiritual Activities E.g. Saying Rosary, Attending Protestant Service, Shabbat Shalom, Nature Sounds & Sights, etc.

Meets need for pastoral care, improves comfort level, maintains life long pattern of spiritual fulfillment, helps with mood and behavior, self esteem, provides fellowship and support, offers a familiar, over learned activity that provides opportunities for success, etc.

Community Activities - E.g. Fall Foliage Ride, Luncheon, Family Outings, etc.

Breaks routine, prevents "Cabin Fever", maintains ties with the outside world, provides opportunities to maintain/increase social ties, provides excitement, etc.

Specialty Activities - E.g. Sensory Integration, Re-motivation, 24 hour R. O., Kitchen Kapers, Handwriting Classes, etc.

Maintains or increases alertness, decreases anxiety, improve or maintain orientation, increases motivation, helps with mood, maintain or improve skills, prevents withdrawal/regression, increases attention span, increases independence, etc.

Work-type Activities - E.g. Resident Council, Craft/Art/Poetry/Creative Writing Classes, Good Bears, etc.

Provides a sense of purpose, increases self-esteem, self worth, provides mastery experiences, creates community, maintains or improves functional ability, provides a creative outlet, empowers, etc.

Provides direction, a sense of purpose and control over ones environment, maintains or improves dexterity, sense of accomplishment, helping others in the outside community, expressing care for others, maintains life long routine, promotes 

Diversional Activities E.g. Music, Entertainment, Poetry Readings, Videos, Movies, etc.

 Stimulates the endorphins which increases a feeling of well being, non-verbal expression of emotions, stimulates vocalization and communication, helpful in speech therapy, stimulates movement, facilitates relaxation, decreases stress, elicits fond memories, opportunities for creative expression, the universal language, enhances self esteem thru recall of familiar skills, decreases pain/prevents escalation of pain, sets mood, tone, calms, excites, alters behavior, provides opportunity and relief from daily cares and worries, decreases anxiety, promotes rest, positive change in the nervous system, improves cognitive ability

Re-Creation Activities - Bingo, Bowling, Exercise Class, etc. WITH PHYSICIAN APPROVAL

Maintains or improves eye/hand coordination, exercises cognitive function, social interactions, gross motor skills, provides competitive atmosphere, promotes team spirit, trust and caring for one another, provides a feeling of belonging and esteem, improves or maintains range of motion, play, joy, happiness, improves breathing, heart function appetite, energy level, alertness, acceptable outlets for frustration, stimulates the endorphins, increases strength, flexibility, endurance, positive change in the nervous system

Physical exercise, Yoga, Thi Chi are known to have positive physiologic affects.

Heart Disease - controls weight, may reverse arterial plaque build-up, helps to lower cholesterol
Hypertension - reduce b/p
Stroke - risk is decreased in active adults
Diabetes - adult onset, type II less likely to develop, helps avert raising glucose, may improve insulin sensitivity
Osteoporosis - helps maintain bone density
CA - recommended by ACS as prevention.
Coronary Artery Disease - may improve cognitive performance

"Volunteers who listened to Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' while working out on a treadmill did much better on a test of verbal ability than when they exercised without music, a team, (led by Charles Emery psychologist) at Ohio State University found." , from a Reuters news release.