Leisure activities are a very important part of recovery for anyone with a brain injury. They are great ways of letting go of stress, learning skills, enjoying life more, and feeling satisfied. Leisure activities can range from light fun to more serious activities that add meaning and quality to life.
The focus of recreation therapy is help the person become as independent as possible when doing leisure activities and to help him ease back into his community.
The goal of recreation therapy is to help the person develop skills, knowledge, and to find resources that will allow him to take part in activities that add quality and meaning to his life.
A brain injury may result in some lifestyle changes. Below are some of the issues that may be seen:
- He may suddenly have a lot of free time; especially if he can’t go back to work or become the activities he did before the injury.
- He may lose interest, motivation, or the ability to think about a leisure activity to do. Remind him that leisure activities are an important part of recovery.
- He may have poorer social skills or not be able to do leisure activities because of a physical problem or may have trouble communicating.
- He may have trouble things such as attention, concentration, planning, and problem-solving.
- There may not be many recreational resources around (like a recreation centre, programs, or adaptive equipment) where he lives.
Increasing leisure activities
- Encourage him to take part in both hospital and out-of-hospital recreational activities (families and friends are always welcome).
- Let him try new things and decide what he’d like to do. Give him two or three ideas—too many can be confusing and frustrating. (The recreation therapist can give ideas and give more information on recreation activities.)
- Help him plan recreational activities on weekends and passes. If he needs it, break things down into steps so that they are easier to understand. Try to get him to do as many of the steps as he can.
- Be patient and understanding. A person who suddenly can’t do the things he used to may find it hard to start doing them again, or to try new ones.
- Make sure he has things such as puzzles, books, pictures, and a radio/music player, both in the hospital and at home.
- Be a role model – do the activities with him.