Crafts in the Nursing Home – Please Don’t Pass the Crayons

Christina's Shibori

These beautiful Shibori Print Scarves were just made by a group of residents of the Schulman and Schachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation [SSI], in a craft group lead by Christina Ciara. Yes, they were made by residents in a nursing home. And some of them will be sold this week at SSI’s Annual Mother’s Day Craft Sale, to raise money for more high end craft and activity supplies, for the residents’ enjoyment.

Christina Caira is a Music Therapist and working musician, who works in SSI’s very progressive and dynamic Recreational Therapy Department composed exclusively of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists [CTRS’s] and Board Certified Music and Art Therapists. A gifted and passionate therapist, Christina Caira consistently brings creative new experiences to the residents she works with.

The Schulman and Schachne Institute, in Brooklyn, New York, where I had the great good fortune to work for 26 years, until my retirement, is blessed with visionary leadership who are passionately committed to excellence in the provision of the highest quality of life and quality of care for the residents they serve, and support and inspire a passionate and motivated workforce.

Now, this may sound like some fancy small boutique nursing home, but nope…. This is a large, 448-bed, urban inner city nursing home, with no philanthropic support, that has figured out that the highest quality care actually is also cost effective -big time – in reduced hospitalizations, and reduced use of psychotropic medications to treat symptoms of behavioral distress.

In terms of providing resident activities, this means a strong and enduring facility commitment to providing recreational therapy, and allied expressive arts therapies, by qualified professional staff, within a state of the art Therapeutic Recreation Department.

Treatment by qualified professional Therapeutic Recreation Department staff, whose core educational requirements include intensive training in understanding disease processes, and in adapting activity tasks to functional ability, makes a big difference – in resident’s levels of functional ability, reduction of behaviors associated with distress, in engagement and in quality of life.

Therapeutic Recreation intervention supports the residents to access and explore complex and sophisticated activities … like shibori fabric making. Because continuing to enjoy the pride and satisfaction of creating – isn’t that what makes living sweet.

So hats off to Christina Caira for her fabulous and innovative work, and to Schulman and Schachne Institute  for its commitment to providing the highest quality of care in Therapeutic Recreation.  You guys ROCK.

And to everyone else… please don’t pass the crayons.

2 thoughts on “Crafts in the Nursing Home – Please Don’t Pass the Crayons

  1. I am in Largo Florida working as a resident caregiver for memory impaired adults. My primary interest is in engaging residents with Parkinson’s disease. I have also had 6 years working in the crafting activities department of a national craft store. I would love to keep to keep track of you and incorporate ideas here.
    Brenda Fay


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