The Importance of Activities for People with Disabilities

The Importance of Enrichment Activities for Those with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

The weather is improving, 98% of our individuals are fully vaccinated and outdoor activities seem to be re-opening once again. What does this mean for our individuals at Richcroft? It means that we can start offering enrichment activities to the people we support and that, once again, they will have the opportunity to participate in events that are stimulating, exciting, and most of all, engaging.

The pandemic certainly took its toll on our communities. For those who have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the unfortunate closing of so many of our cherished programs was a shared disappointment. Although we knew that things would eventually get back to normal, we couldn’t anticipate when. Now that the CDC is suggesting that those who are fully vaccinated can go back to their outdoor activities, this is opening the doors for many of the individuals we support. One of the areas many of our residents are eager to get back to is our parks and recreation events, allowing them to leave their homes temporarily and take a breath of fresh air outside while engaging with other community members- an important part of their routines.

Fitness programs and cooking club were some of our more popular enrichment activities before the pandemic. Despite many of these going online and still seeing a good number of attendees, the individuals we support have all spoken about how interested they are in physically attending these programs in person. Meeting/ seeing other people and actively socializing beats the monotony of staying at home and for many of our individuals, the chance to get outside, as opposed to participating in virtual activities, is an exhilarating feeling. It’s also essential for their physical and mental health.

Being able to go to the movies, play miniature golf, attending or volunteering at local churches, and even participating in the local bowling league are activities that did not translate online, which is why our individuals are itching to get back and resume their involvement. We will also continue to provide activities that build skills and help our individuals with day-to-day tasks, such as sessions on how to use communication devices and learning to navigate social media and virtual resources to stay connected to friends and family.

And not all outdoor activities have to be strenuous or daunting at the prospect of having to interact with others. Taking a walk in the local parks, shopping and even participating in craft activities can be stimulating and give the individual a change of scenery, compared to staying at home and attending groups online. Of course, the options of participating in online activities are still available, (such as virtual yoga and virtual book club), for those who may not be ready to fully transition to outdoor or external activities and that’s understandable. It’s been a challenging year and adapting to change for anyone, but especially for the individuals we support, is not an easy process, and nor do we need it to be.

That’s the beauty of Richcroft’s Personal Support Services. We’ve always stated that we cater to the individuals in our care and not the other way around- we want to respect their wishes, needs, and personal requests which is why our service is provided 1-on-1, and the individual being supported directs the activities they participate in. It’s due to these steadily growing interests in enrichment activities that we’ve had to expand the list of events from a selection of one or two to a full menu of options and that’s exactly what we like to see at Richcroft.

Taking the time to listen to what our individuals need and want at Richcroft is where we can excel and grow as an organization and, as always, it’s largely thanks to generous donations that we are able to provide the activities that we do. Now that some restrictions have been lifted, we are hoping to encourage as many individuals as possible to take full advantage of the enrichment activities on offer and we have full faith that, with your continued support, we will be able to do just that.