Inside Athena: Recreation Team Member Finding Passion in Creativity at Laurel Ridge

Inside Athena: Recreation Team Member Finding Passion in Creativity at Laurel Ridge

RIDGEFIELD, C.T. — Lesley Bourdier loves art and is putting it on the walls of Laurel Ridge Health Care Center.

She joined the Ridgefield center in September as a Therapeutic Recreation Director. Her career goals are to get into art therapy, and felt this was a great start down that path.

“Lesley is a wonderful asset to the facility. Her expertise in art therapy adds a new component to the recreation department. Her dedication and kindness to the residents brings bright smiles to their faces,” Administrator Caitlin Cannavaro said.

With a certification in recreation therapy, she holds all sorts of events and activities for the residents from art to games to music. She tailors them around creativity, she explains.

“I love working with the senior population. They’re so sweet. I love when you ask them questions about their life because of the fact that I’m younger and they’re older, they’ve experienced things I’ve never gone through so it’s fun listening to where everyone came from,” she said.

Bourdier explains how art therapy is a form of psychology that encourages expression through different art forms like painting. Her latest work at the center is just that.

Throughout the memory care unit, she is painting different scenes on the walls to make the hallways more “home-like.” The village, as she called it, includes a bakery with a post office, flower shop, and barbershop to come. All are free-handed to start and she is already seeing residents get excited over the new scenes. She wants to give a shout-out to the maintenance department and the Laurel Ridge team for all their support on the project.

“It has been a pleasure to welcome Lesley to our recreation team here at Laurel Ridge. She has brought with her many creative ideas, especially with her skill and talent in Art Therapy. Lesley is kind and compassionate with our residents and is always willing to lend a hand to others when needed,” Director of Therapeutic Recreation Lisa Bowe said.

Bourdier is also a Spanish speaker and started a program focused on coffee and conversations so residents whose native language is Spanish have a place to get together.

No matter what the event or activity is, Bourdier said residents are always looking at what’s next.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “Seeing the smiles on their faces. There’s so many times where they’ll walk away and say, ‘Thank you, that was so fun. I really enjoyed that.'”

“Lesley is a wonderful asset to our team at Laurel Ridge,” Memory Care Program Coordinator Jennifer Bittner said. “Lesley is very creative and produces amazing ideas when our department brainstorms for new fun activities to add to our monthly calendar. Most of all Lesley is kind, patient and compassionate with our residents.”
May 2, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring, Inside Athena