Providing recreational activities to the most vulnerable in our community as they achieve recovery and independence.
When Linda Sung was sixteen years old, she had the chance to visit Italy. “I loved the rich culture and art, and admired the creativity. There was an emptiness in my heart, though, and I didn’t know what was missing,” she recounts.
Linda had always felt drawn to people with vulnerability, and her life changed when she met a recreation therapist while visiting Italian orphanages and churches. “I was only a teenager. I didn’t know what recreation therapy was, but I realized that I wanted it in my life,” she explains. “LOFT reminds me of that moment.”
With LOFT since 2018, Linda is a life enrichment worker at our Pine Villa program. Pine Villa is a transitional care facility providing short-term services for older adults who no longer require care in a hospital. She supports seniors living with complex health issues such as cognitive impairment and mental health or addiction challenges.
“Recreation therapists use activities to help people achieve recovery and independence,” she explains. “An individual’s challenges can be physical, mental, emotional, cognitive, social, or a combination of many factors.”
Linda assesses her clients’ needs, analyses and prepares resources, and adjusts activities to meet each individual’s abilities. The degree of adaptation and delivery method are crucial for client engagement.
In her painting classes, for example, Linda uses the Montessori Method. She may set a limit on colours for certain participants, or use pre-drawn shapes so that her clients are able to follow the dotted lines and feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.
Linda also teaches life skills, including communication and money management lessons that support her clients’ successful integration with the community once they are discharged from Pine Villa.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a challenge. Public health guidelines ensure everyone’s safety, but increase the levels of isolation and loneliness among clients and staff. “With decreased socialization, our clients feel lonely and often show doubt and low self-esteem,” she says. “I have to take extra care to check in with myself emotionally before I facilitate my programs because our clients notice when I’m having a difficult day.”
In her free time, Linda loves going for long walks and is busy exploring new hobbies. She is currently improving her business skills, cooking new recipes, learning languages, and playing musical instruments.
“I love doing what I do because our clients teach me to enjoy life. They inspire me to appreciate the simple moments, especially during this difficult time,” she tells us. Linda teaches her clients that the little things are big, and that we are at our best on the road to happiness. We find joy along the way.
LOFT’s Pine Villa program is a supportive transitional care site providing short-term services for older adults who no longer require care in a hospital.