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How this started 

I was in my third year of university studying gerontology, otherwise known as adult development, at the University of Guelph in Ontario. We had an option to participate in co-op experiences within the respective fields of our study. I had the opportunity to shadow a recreational therapist in a long-term care facility. I found the experience to be very eye-opening, Up until this point  I have never had any family members in care such as this so I really had no context for what to expect. During my placement, I worked with the residents providing them fun activities to do while sparking conversation and creating social events for them to participate in. It was great to see them enjoying the activities but some residents never got a chance to even leave their room.

It wasn’t that they weren’t allowed to leave their room but due to their circumstances, they were not able to leave their room participate in the social activities. Understandably, the facility put most of its focus on grouped activities because it allowed them to target more residents in a single sitting, potentially gaining more value from it and having to use less resources. This meant that individuals that couldn’t leave their rooms were stuck with little to no socialization unless family was visiting or during meals. In one case, the woman hadvery few family visits due to their schedules and no form of entertainment because the family could not afford the cable TV fine.

For the four months I was there I would consistently go by her room and even sometimes step in to say hi. It was evident that the enjoyment was sucked out of her life. This got me thinking, is that the potential future for all of us? What can we do to provide a more positive later life experience. And this is where the idea was formed.


Austin Dorotea

Bachelor of Applied Science, Gerontology  

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