Sammi's Interviews

As a journalist, I often meet amazing people with incredible stories. One of the best parts about my job is the fact that I get to hear their stories and learn more about their lives. 

I recently met and talked to Marni Rose, who is the woman behind Activities For Life NY, an organization that offers recreational activities for seniors and people with disabilities. Her kind heart and spirit captivated me so much that I feel she is deserving of being recognized as one of TVGrapevine's Amazing Women. Here is a more in depth look at her story. 

Tell us about your business.
Activities for Life NY is a therapeutic recreation service for seniors,  and for people with disabilities.  Many (but not all)of my clients have dementia or Alzheimer's, or are declining mentally or physically.

We use activities to help promote rehabilitation and wellness, through meaningful and personalized programs that bring joy to people who, frankly, aren't able to get out and experience much life anymore.   

What kind of things do you do for them? 
Anything that interests them, or connects them to the past, and is extremely enjoyable.  We've done everything from setting up a Mah Jongg foursome --to bringing musicians in for a private concerts, to visiting the Botanical Gardens, Broadway shows, dance recitals, museums.    

Of course, if a client is struggling with a cognitive disorder or a physical disability, we choose activities that are tailored to their level  of functioning, and will help them strengthen their mind and body.

How did you get started?
I saw that seniors were increasingly aging in their homes, but many were isolated from community activities, friends and family.  Their illnesses were taking over their lives and they weren't living their best life possible

Once I started to visit people 1:1, the word got out.   I've been visiting clients for the past 8 years, and have recruited other talented recreation therapists as well. 

What are some of the goals you have for your business?
I hope to reach more seniors, especially in the NORC (naturally occurring retirement community).    

How can others get involved?
 It is very important for seniors who are starting to decline --to not only have good caretakers and a safe place to live,  but to maintain relationships and remain active mentally and physically--  I use the phrase 'use it or lose it' a lot.

Some of my clients, when  I first meet  them, feel like they are at the end of their line, and life doesn't have much to offer them anymore.   What they loved doing in the past may seem inaccessible. 

I want people to know you can still live your best life no matter how old you are. 

If you are responsible for a elderly person, be they a parent or a client, please investigate therapeutic recreation. 

 {sidebar id=8}Where do you see the Activities For Life in five years?
I would like to expand my client base from just NYC to the suburbs as well. 

I would like to connect to more organizations--and to offer workshops to families or caregivers on how to connect to those coping with an illness.   I often meet stressed out caregivers who  forget to take care of themselves and are burnt out. We have to remember that caregivers need care too.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
When I was small I was terrified of older people. I used to visit my great grandparents in Florida a couple times a year and I remember being so shy and afraid. Now nothing phases me. I couldn't be more comfortable in a room with a bunch of seniors.

Any last words for America?
Aging doesn't have to be depressing.....Activities for Life NY can help people connect to things they loved in the past and introduce them to a world still full of new experiences.

Thank you to Marni for this interview and be sure to check out Activities For Life NY!

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