Rec-Leisure – Home & Community Options

As we journey through life, the importance of social connections and recreational activities becomes more evident for all individuals, regardless of age or developmental differences. At Home and Community Options, our Recreation and Leisure group is dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging and joy among those we support throughout their lives. In this edition of our newsletter, we explore the rewarding experiences and valuable relationships that arise from participating in social leisure activities.

Our Recreation and Leisure group was founded in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we emerged from the peak of the pandemic, it became evident that individuals needed opportunities to reconnect with their community in ways that they were not able to during the shutdowns. This group aims to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and participation in community activities. Topics covered in our discussions have included the effects of the pandemic, the importance of embracing risk with dignity, establishing routines and traditions, sensory experiences, the significance of reminiscing and storytelling, consumer involvement in volunteering, as well as the use of ice breakers and communication prompts to encourage connections.

One of the tools we have used to uncover the unique passions and interests of those we support is a hobby and social interest inventory form. Whether it’s painting, gardening, storytelling, or cooking, the inventory helps us identify shared interests and foster connections based on common hobbies. Through this process, we create a supportive environment where individuals can explore their interests while connecting with others who share their enthusiasm.

Routines and traditions are key to instilling a sense of stability and belonging. Whether it’s a weekly painting session or an annual holiday celebration, these rituals provide structure and continuity to individuals’ lives. By establishing regular gatherings and special events, we cultivate a sense of anticipation and camaraderie within our community. These cherished traditions serve as anchors of joy and connection, weaving a tapestry of shared experiences that enrich our collective journey.

Reminiscing holds a special place in our hearts as we reflect on cherished memories and moments of triumph. Guided by skilled staff, those we support embark on journeys through time, sharing stories of childhood adventures, lifelong friendships, and dreams fulfilled. The power of reminiscing not only strengthens bonds within our programs but also promotes a sense of identity and self-worth. Through shared storytelling, we celebrate the richness of our collective experiences and honor the paths that have led us to where we are today.

Sensory engagement also plays a role in creating a meaningful environment for the individuals we support.  From vibrant photos that stimulate the visual senses to soothing music that brings peace and tranquility, we design activities to engage all five senses. By appealing to the senses, we enhance the overall experience of social leisure activities, fostering deeper engagement and enjoyment for our members.

At HCO, we also recognize the inherent value of giving back to others. Through volunteering initiatives, our individuals have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around them. Whether it’s volunteering at their church or helping clean up our downtown, our individuals find fulfillment in serving their communities. In giving back, they discover a sense of purpose and connection that enriches their own lives immeasurably.

To further explore the topic of social leisure activities as we age, HCO will be hosting a workshop. On May 14th at 12:30pm, Sheena Gifford, Recreation Coordinator for the City of Winona Parks and Recreation, will present valuable information on the physical changes that come with aging, provide tips on adapting social leisure activities as we get older, explore why these activities are important, and share various social leisure opportunities. This training will be held at HCO’s Central Office Building located at 66 East Third Street, Winona, MN. Best of all, this training is free of charge and open to the public. To reserve your spot, please call HCO at (507) 452-1021.

As we embrace social leisure activities throughout our lives, let us celebrate the bonds of friendship, the joy of shared experiences, and the transformative power of giving back. Together, we create a vibrant community where all individuals are valued, respected, and embraced for who they are. Join us as we continue to journey through life with laughter, love, and a shared sense of purpose.