Inside Athena: Rec. Director Empowering Orchard View Manor Residents Through Activities

Inside Athena: Rec. Director Empowering Orchard View Manor Residents Through Activities

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lauren Bowers wants the residents at Orchard View Manor to feel empowered and fulfilled while at the East Providence center.

She has been the Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Orchard View Manor for four years, but has been working as a director since 2012. She was working as an occupational therapy assistant when a friend recommended she interview for a recreation role… she got the job and started a new journey in activities.

“I never thought I would end up in a nursing home,” she said.

Lauren (left) during a resident event.

She has found her background in therapy to be beneficial in recreation and being able to customize activities to what residents prefer. She said it helps her look at a person holistically and gives them a sense of independence.

“I try to meet everybody’s needs on a daily basis, especially individually here. We have a very diverse population, some cognitive deficits, some behavior, some younger population… so I try to get them empowering activities to do and keep them busy and fulfilled,” she said. “I like to give a lot of people choices in what they want to do. I like to get to know them and know what their preferences are.”

The director also gives residents the opportunity to run their own programming. One person hosts a painting class, another runs a bible study, for example.

“I like to implement new and fun ideas while also bringing in ideas that the residents have that are comforting to them,” she said, noting it empowers them. “I hope to bring back that independence with choices and offering things here that they may miss from the community.”

Bowers loves to bond with her residents. She said her favorite part of the job is getting to know all of the residents and knowing they trust her. They will also try to tailor events to the younger populations with things like henna and cold brew coffees.

The center also has a great recreation team with some longevity that Bowers is proud to lead.

“Lauren’s specialized programs and activities for the staff truly stem from her occupational therapy assistant profession. She has found a unique way to merge both disciplines to better serve our residents. Each program is tactfully designed to provide residents with the tools they need to thrive but also provide them with fun enrichment! I’m so privileged to have Lauren as a Recreation Regional and also Recreation Director as she has shown tremendous dedication and has presented a wealth of innovation to the industry,” Diamond Boone, the Regional Director of Therapeutic Recreation for Massachusetts and Rhode Island said.

Orchard View Manor sits on a large property with an apple orchard and lots of space for outdoor events. They try and hold their activities outdoors in the warmer months such as yoga. Whatever the activity may be, wherever it may be, Bowers knows it’s what she’s supposed to be doing.

“As long as they’re happy and I get that reaction, that makes me happy. It makes it all worth it,” she said.

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June 13, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring, Inside Athena