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A New Certified Recreation Therapist and Community Life Leader Brings Exciting Programs to Inspiring Today Residents at The Hearth at Drexel

April 11, 2023

A woman of science, Michele Harris, has joined The Hearth at Drexel in Bala Cynwyd, PA, as a full-time Community Life Leader and certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist, as part of the Inspiring Today Memory Care team.

As such, Michele works closely with Jessica Buck, Director of Community Life, to bring intriguing and educational activities and projects to residents.

Michele provides insights into her career path by explaining, “After thirty years on a medical research team, seeking to find treatments related to carpal tunnel syndrome, experimenting with the cannabinoid region of the brain, and doing microbiological testing, I made a career change to become a certified Recreational Therapist.

Helping Residents Lead Healthy Lives

“I was compelled to do this when my mother was diagnosed with Dementia,” she continues, “so that I could work in a field that would not only help my mom, but would help other individuals with this conditions to lead healthy and productive lives.”

“Through my love for science and the desire to help older adults to live their best lives, I can offer the residents on Inspiring Today science-related activities that can enhance their knowledge as well as provide hands-on experiences that are designed to intrigue, challenge, and inspire,” she elaborates.

A Fabulous Addition to the Community

Jessica asserts, “Michele has been a fabulous addition to our Community Life team; her charismatic energy brightens any room she enters. Her innovative programs keep residents engaged and wanting more!” Jessica adds, “Soon, we’ll be working on the raised garden beds outdoors, which will delight residents to enjoy planting and growing food and flowers.”

“Michele makes all of her bi-monthly educational programs fun,” according to Jessica. “In recent weeks, she has engaged residents with socially intriguing, visually stimulating, cognitive enhancing activities that stimulate many sensory reactions, using music or sounds for auditory stimulation, tactile experiences to activate the sense of touch, and often combining interesting scents or aromas to interest residents.

“Recently, Michele taught them how to create ‘safe fireworks in a jar’ by mixing vivid food coloring with vegetable oil and water, so that residents could see how quickly soluble substances break down when combined together. In her nutritional programs, Michele presents fresh, colorful, textured, sweet tasting, healthy fruit to illustrate how she combines certain flavors to make delicious and nutritious fruit smoothies, which also serve as festive treats for residents.”

Why Michele Loves The Hearth at Drexel

When asked what she enjoys most about her new career, Michele says, “Working at The Hearth at Drexel gives me the opportunity to apply the tools I learned through the Recreational Therapy program which will help our residents explore various activities to improve their physical, cognitive, psychological, social and spiritual needs, and that will help them to live independent lives.”

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