Therapeutic recreation with an emphasis on gerontology focuses on promoting healthy living for seniors through physical exercise as well as a wide variety of social and mental activities. Certified recreational therapists typically find work in community and senior centres, assisted living housing, adult day centres and rehabilitation centres.
If you are compassionate, empathetic, have excellent communication skills and are interested in making a difference in your community, perhaps you should consider a fulfilling career in therapeutic recreation. Read on to learn more about some of the advantages of working in this field.
Gerontology Careers Are on the Rise
Individuals pursuing careers in therapeutic recreation, especially within the field of gerontology, will have no trouble finding work once they have earned their diploma. As gerontology students already know, the Canadian population is aging. In fact, in 2011 the median age in Canada was 39.9 years, a number that has grown substantially since 1971 when Canada’s median age was a mere 26.2 years. As we can see, senior citizens make up one of the largest and fastest growing age groups in the country, and this trend is only expected to continue for the next few decades. While there is already a very high demand for recreational therapists, job opportunities in this area will continue to multiply.
Recreational Therapists Help Seniors Become Independent
Students enrolled in gerontology programs understand that as people age they must cope with physical, social and emotional losses and setbacks. As a result, their ability to function independently is affected, and they begin to rely heavily on others to help with their basic needs and functions.
Recreational therapy professionals are experienced with using structured processes to guide seniors towards independence. Graduates of therapeutic recreation programs know that one of these processes includes planning goal-setting social and physical activities for patients to take part in with others in their community. These activities will allow patients to gain new interests and begin to find an infrastructure of support.
Become an Integral Part of Your Community as a Recreational Therapist
Whether it’s in a community center, a nursing home or even a hospital, recreational therapists become an integral component of the senior communities they work in. By involving seniors in various invigorating activities, individuals holding a therapeutic recreation diploma promote interaction which ultimately fosters more tightly-knit communities. Professionals will soon begin seeing themselves as members of a larger group of healthcare professionals, all working with the ultimate goal of creating a better life for elderly patients.
Without a doubt, individuals who decide to pursue a career in recreational therapy with a focus in gerontology will be providing a meaningful service that makes a difference in their lives, the lives of others and also helps to foster a stronger community.
Do you think a career in therapeutic recreation is right for you?