Re-Creative Resources
By Kimberly Grandal, BA, CTRS, ACC, Executive Director
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Executive Director
Re-Creative Resources
About Kim

Kimberly Grandal, Founder
and Executive Director of Re-
Creative Resources, Inc., is a
strong advocate for the field of
Therapeutic Recreation and
years of experience working
with the elderly in numerous
management and consultant
positions.  She is an Activity
Consultant Certified and a
Certified Therapeutic
Recreation Specialist. Kim is a
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals
Association and the New
Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania
Therapeutic Recreation

In 1990, Kim graduated from
William Paterson University
with a BA in Sociology and
later studied gerontology
courses at Union County
College and Therapeutic
Recreation courses at Kean
University. Throughout her
career, Kim has been the
Director of Therapeutic
Recreation for several long-
term care facilities, including
one of NJ’s largest.

In 2006, Kim founded Re-
Creative Resources Inc. She is
a speaker for various state and
local activity associations such
as NJAPA, MOCAP, and
NJACA, as well as the Society
of Licensed Nursing Home
Administrators of NJ. She also
offers lectures for Re-Creative
Resources Inc., local colleges,
and community groups, and
provides consultation and
support to numerous facilities
in the state.

Kim is the editor and writer for
the “The Rec-Room", a
monthly newsletter published
by her company. In addition,
she writes monthly articles for
the Activity Directors Office
newsletter, and has contributed
articles to Creative Forecasting
Magazine, and The
Continuing Care Insite

Kim is a recipient of the
Kessler Institute of
Rehabilitation 1997 Triumph
of the Human Spirit Award.  
Her passion is to promote the
field of Therapeutic
Recreation and Activities and
to unite Recreation Therapists
and Activity Professionals. Kim
currently serves on the NJAPA
board as the Chairperson for
the Legislation Committee.
Resources Inc.

Re-Creative Resources, Inc. is
committed to enhancing the
lives of long-term care
residents through the use of
Therapeutic Recreation. We
provide a variety of services
such as Therapeutic
Recreation seminars,
in-services, resources, form
development, program analysis
and development,
consultation, and support for
activity professionals and
recreational therapists. A
selection of downloadable
training materials and forms
are available for your
convenience as well as a free
job posting site.
Subscribe to Kimberly's Newsletter
A-Z Tips for Activity Professionals
Who Need a Boost!
By: Kimberly Grandal CTRS, ACC
Executive Director
Re-Creative Resources Inc.

“Hi Kim,

It is good to be on your mailing list.  I am going through some rough times right now
and I need help finding a path!  I am in a small assisted living coming off my 3rd year as
the Activity Director and we are down in census right now, so everyone is getting things
heaped onto their plates.  I am feeling very burnt, angry, and resentful that I have to be
everything for everybody.  I have been looking for jobs but not sure that I want to stay in
this field because this feels like the nature of the job all over.  What I need the help in is
standing up for myself and my department on what we can and won't do as part of our
jobs.  Right now we are the porters, the food service, the activities, the bus drivers, and
marketing and I have little to no time or energy for my family and I am certainly not
getting paid enough for all the extra hours I put in.   
I love the residents and when I can do a group, uninterrupted, and have some creativity
(but that is rare) I feel as if I am responsible for making it all happen!  It feels like there
is no way to manage time because of the crisis factor and the end result if that I am
stifled creatively and therefore shutting down. All of this is holding me back from getting
my MEPAP 2 done and getting certified.  I just don't think it is any better anywhere else!

Frustrated in XYX Assisted Living Facility”

Does this sound familiar? Signs of burnout include: frustration, failure, despair,
irritability, helplessness, exhaustion, isolation, and powerlessness. I recently received
this email and found it to be so powerful and quite honestly, reminiscent of my own
earlier experiences as an Activity Director. I worked in one facility in which I actually
resigned three times! Luckily I had supportive administration who realized my
resignations were related to burnout and that I needed support and guidance.

For this reason I had to address this issue further. Many Activity Directors go through
times of such despair and burnout that they actually leave the profession that they used
to LOVE!  Sometimes we act out of impulse and resign out of sheer frustration and
burnout. Please try some of these ideas BEFORE making decisions that could change
your life or your career path.

  • ASK for help when you need it. It doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are

  • Find a BALANCE. Try to balance all aspects of your work such as office time,
    resident time, staff time, you time, and so on. You must also find balance
    between work, family, friends, and so on.

  • COMMUNICATE your needs, issues, responsibilities, etc. to the appropriate
    individuals, especially your supervisor/boss. Don’t assume he/she knows that
    you are feeling stressed or burnt out.

  • DELEGATE your responsibilities when appropriate. Even residents, family
    members and volunteers can help.

  • EDUCATE anyone and everyone about the importance of therapeutic activities
    and quality of life.

  • Make time for FAMILY and FRIENDS.

  • Set GOALS for yourself and your department as well as personally and

  • Have a HEALTHY lifestyle. Get enough rest, eat right and exercise.

  • Find the INSPIRATION. What inspire you? Is it the residents? A mentor? A
    religion or spirituality preference? Nature? Poetry? Music? Once you find what
    inspires you, then MAKE time to pursue your inspirational cues.

  • Review your JOB DESCRIPTION. It’s important to know exactly what your
    responsibilities are.

  • KNOWLEDGE is power so educate yourself in all aspects of activities,
    therapeutic recreation, the regulations, policies, the population you serve, and
    so on.

  • Know your own LIMITS. Seriously consider what you can and cannot do in terms
    of time, skills and resources.

  • MARKET, MARKET, MARKET. When you let others know all about the various
    activities, special events and programs that you offer, you will receive more
    compliments, recognition and appreciation. This in turn, boosts your confidence
    and morale.

  • Say NO. Activity professionals are often afraid to say they cannot help with some
    special project or new responsibilities and the profession often becomes the
    dumping ground for all those unwanted tasks. With a positive demeanor and
    some negotiations, sometimes it’s ok to politely decline.

  • Schedule OFFICE time. It’s ok to close the door and get your managerial duties

  • PRIORITIZE. Setting priorities is often difficult for activity professionals, everything
    seems like a priority. But it’s important to look at deadlines, schedules, and

  • QUIT doing what you are doing if it continuously makes you feel this way. But
    before doing so, be sure to try this A-Z list. If there is no relief, then ask if you can
    be transferred, take a leave of absence or ask if there are other positions

  • Schedule RESIDENT time. Nothing reminds us more of why we started working
    in the activity profession, more than spending quality, uninterrupted time with the
    residents. Designate certain activities that only you facilitate like a support
    group, Activity Planning Committee, Leisure Education or activities that you enjoy
    the most. It will rejuvenate your spirit every time! The key is to let go of all other
    responsibilities during your resident time and just enjoy the interaction.

  • SOCIALIZE and network. Joining local, state and national professional
    organizations can provide you with much support, information, and inspiration.
    Many people love attending conferences and group meetings for the networking
    and sharing that is offered.

  • TIME MANAGEMENT.  Time management is often an issue for Activity Directors
    who are trying to manage a department, facilitate activities, train and educate,
    market, attend meetings, write reports, recruit staff and volunteers, provide
    documentation, talk to family members, raise money, and so on. The list is
    endless. It’s important to find a time management system that works for you. My
    favorite time management system comes from Steve McClatchy, President of
    Alleer Training and Consultanting. You can read his article, “How to Save an
    Hour a Day” at

  • UNITE! All for one and one for all! If you’re a team player and you help out other
    departments and colleagues, chances are they will help you in return.

  • VENT! Don’t let it ferment!  But do so to the appropriate people. Don’t vent to your
    staff, residents, volunteers, family members, etc. You must remain positive
    around those individuals. Vent to other AD's, certain co-workers or people you
    trust. Close your office door and vent if you need to.  

  • WRITE it down. Studies show that writing is very therapeutic. When you feel that
    work and life are becoming overwhelming and stressful, write down your
    feelings. What is the cause of these feelings? How exactly do you feel?  Are you
    sad, angry, bitter, frustrated, exhausted, etc.? What will help you feel better?

  • Remember that XANADU does not exist. It is a mythical, fabulous place that
    was allegedly situated in contemporary China thousands of years ago. This
    place was protected from external hazards by a special shield that created a
    “paradise” environment for its inhabitants. Each place you work will have its own
    issues and challenges.

  • Schedule YOU time! It’s of utmost importance to get enough rest, relaxation, and
    leisure time for you. Activity Professionals are the worst at self-recreating!

  • Create a ZEN garden. Zen gardens are said to help heal and relax the mind,
    body, and soul. Mini Zen gardens are common in stressful business jobs. This
    consists of a small box of sand with miniature rocks and a miniature rake. When
    you get stressed, you can rake the sand in slow strokes while breathing deeply
    and feel the calming effect! To make your own, affordable desktop Zen garden