Marla Kurtz is a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who has worked in the field for over 15 years. She had a love and desire to work with the elderly and went back to school upon completing her University degree in Political Science to learn the practical skills working in the geriatric population. She did two consecutive field placements at the Baycrest Centre while completing her diploma from George Brown College and was hired immediately with the organization. Marla then went on to specialize in Therapeutic Recreation from Georgian College, which was at the time the most recognized program in the province of Ontario. She remained at the Baycrest Centre for the next 8 years as a therapeutic recreationist in several areas of the centre. Prior to the inception of her business, Marla was the Director of therapeutic Recreation Services at a private Alzheimer’s home in the city of Toronto.
Ray of Sunshine Elderly Services began when Marla Kurtz, a therapeutic recreation specialist determined that a large population of people were deciding to age in place as an alternative to entering the long-term care option. She saw that the caregivers placed in the homes to look after these individuals were not meeting many of the needs of these individuals from a holistic perspective social, cognitive, emotional, physiological, and spiritual. She therefore, starting to offer her expertise and experience when people would ask her what can their mother or father do all day they as they are just sitting at home disengaged, lonely, depressed, and sad.
Marla began to offer her services to assist the families and suggested relevant dignified and goal oriented activities that might meet the needs of this elderly cohort and the success grew into a thriving full time business, “Ray of Sunshine Elderly Services” a one on one custom tailored home based therapeutic recreation intervention programming private practice, which assist people with varying cognitive, physical, and mental impairments engage and spend their day in an active productive manner that decreases their boredom, agitation, and anxiety through meaningful purposeful goal oriented activities.
At Ray of Sunshine we take on each person with our hearts and we do a tremendous amount of work with all the family members to ensure that everyone understands the important role they have as the main primary care givers and that this role is entrusted to them. Our methodology and delivery of programs have been very effective in bringing down the client’s level of frustration, aggressiveness, while bringing true enhancement and enrichment of the quality of life to our clients and families.
We do this by first developing a trust and rapport with the client, once the client feels safe and secure with the recreationist and a comfort level is achieved only then can the therapeutic recreation intervention sessions begin. Once a needs assessment is completed the recreationists work hard to take the clients past leisure interests and break them down to tangible manageable goals, while achieving these tasks a rebuilding and redevelopment of the client’s skills takes place as well as an increase in focus and attention to complete each task successfully.