ARTICLES / Caregiver / RX For
The Caregiver /
By Janet Listokin, M.A., C.T.R.S.
For any individual to function effectively and efficiently, no
matter their profession, but especially for
caregivers, they need to be able to include leisure
and recreation in their daily lives. Therapeutic
recreation, traditionally, has focused on
individuals with illnesses and disabling conditions.
However, today’s caregivers, given their
responsibilities and those who require their
service, need to understand and appreciate the
importance of how recreation and leisure can be
utilized and benefit their lives.
Leisure is not merely a time spent not working or
doing chores. Rather, leisure can be thought
of as a state of mind that results from
self-motivated, enjoyable interactions with oneself,
one’s environment or with others. When engaged
in leisure activities, the caregiver can focus on
the activities in which he learns new skills,
improves performance and/or demonstrates competency.
The following are some suggested activities and the
benefits, which may be derived from them:
Art/Music/Photography – creativity and
Meditation/Yoga/TaiChi – release of stress,
sense of harmony
Physical exercises – improved health,
release of tension
Reading/Games – sense of accomplishment,
Depending on the caregiver’s preference, leisure
activities can be pursued individually or with
friends/family. Meeting new people during an
activity can add to the enjoyment of the
It is essential that the caregiver breaks the
routine of his/her day and commit to an activity of
his/her choice. A daily, weekly or even a
monthly commitment will surely benefit the
individual. Here are some steps to get
Determine what kind of activity would be of most
interest. Do you want to try something new?
Perhaps, you would like to resume a previous hobby?
Research where the activity is offered, cost,
frequency, time and refund policy. Check local
listings of community centers, colleges, museums,
etc. Choose an activity that piqued your
interest and one which does not add any additional
burden on you.
- If applicable, arrange for another family member or
friend to assume the responsibility for the person
you care for in the home during your absence.
Be comfortable turning to others to assist you – you
cannot do it alone. In addition, research
community-based programs in which the individual you
are caring for may be eligible to attend. Day
habilitation centers, adult day health programs,
etc. offer specialized programming for individuals
with special needs. In addition, many after school
programs offer inclusive recreational opportunities.