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IRC Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015
By: IRC Blog

Active, engaged residents make activities director’s job fun

blog-burkhardt.jpgHow do you plan activities for well-educated, accomplished people like the residents of Ingleside at Rock Creek? You get a ton of assistance from them, says Activities Director Patty Butler-Burkhart.

“They tell me what they want,” Patty says. “I help pull the pieces together with them.”

A Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) and a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in recreation, Patty has worked exclusively with seniors for 33 years and loves the elder spirit and the stories they share.

She recalls one resident who was 105 years old talking about sitting on her front porch as a child in New York City watching the subway being built. The workers wore clean, white shirts down into the tunnels in the morning and by afternoon were covered with dirt. . She’s also heard residents talk about things like riding to school on horseback and surviving Pearl Harbor.

“It’s fascinating to think that, what I grew up watching on TV, they lived,” Patty says.

What distinguishes Ingleside at Rock Creek from other continuing care retirement communities are the people who live here, Patty says.

“The majority of people here are from this area,” she says. “Their roots are here, and they don’t want to be anywhere else. I’ve not seen that in other communities.”

Here, people are more engaged in providing for their own leisure activities,” Patty says. They planned their own programs, like the New Year’s Eve party, and they offer suggestions for everything from speakers and performers to outings and fitness classes. A programming and activities committee fields suggestions and makes recommendations to Patty and her staff.

“These people were and are leaders, and it’s good to keep them leading,” Patty says. “The residents are very open to something new and different.”

The unique location of Rock Creek makes Patty’s job easier.

“I’ve heard it described as country living in the middle of the city,” she says. “If you feel like walking in Rock Creek Park, it’s right here. But it’s also two-blocks to Connecticut Avenue and the shops and activities there. There’s a bus stop at our front door, and you can go anyplace you want.”

That’s why even residents who have family somewhere else still choose to stay in their neighborhood. They’re used to going out to Politics and Prose, a beloved bookstore and coffeehouse on Connecticut Avenue that offers signings and events featuring best-selling authors.

Patty loves working with such interesting and engaged clients, and she is among the most popular staff members at Ingleside at Rock Creek.

“There is an intimacy about this community that I didn’t find in other communities,” she says. “It’s a great place.”

 

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