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Recreational Activities After a Stroke

At Mary Free Bed, we know that leisure activities are an important part of your life. Even after a stroke, continuing to participate in leisure and recreation activities provides a social outlet and improves general health. 

Most communities offer recreational programs and have facilities so that those with disabilities can participate in many kinds of activities. Community sporting activities, either for fun or at a competitive level, are often available for those using wheelchairs or other adaptive equipment.

Meeting with a Recreation Specialist

To return you to recreational activities, a Mary Free Bed therapeutic recreation specialist meets with you and your family. You'll talk about your interests and what your life was like before your stroke. Your rec therapist will tell you how your stroke is likely to affect the activities you enjoy, introduce you to adaptive equipment, and help you manage your leisure time, if necessary.

Mary Free Bed's rec therapists invite your family members to participate so they can learn the skills needed to help you return to your favorite leisure activities. Your recreation specialist will connect you with activities available in your community and help you develop a treatment plan so you have the tools you need to return to a fulfilling and active life.

Water Activities and Swimming

If you're interested in water activities, a therapeutic pool is available at Mary Free Bed. Your therapists will help you learn to swim, teach water safety skills, and work on improving your physical fitness.

Community Activities

During your stay at Mary Free Bed, you may complete a therapeutic outing in the Grand Rapids area. Outings help you and your family learn how to safely return you to community activities after your discharge from Mary Free Bed. Mary Free Bed provides transportation to and from these activities, as well as any needed funds for the outing. Community outings will help you feel more confident about re-entering the community. We encourage family members to attend outings for further education.

Mary Free Bed's Recreation Room

The therapeutic recreation room is located on the second floor of Mary Free Bed. When this room isn't used for therapy, you and your family may reserve the room to visit with family or friends. See your therapeutic recreation specialist for details.

Recreation Equipment

Therapeutic recreation has a variety of adaptive equipment. You may sign out equipment through your therapeutic recreation specialist.


During your stay at Mary Free Bed, you have access to more than 500 DVDs, at no charge, through a therapeutic recreation or the nursing supervisor. Ask your therapeutic recreation specialist for details.

Pet Visitation

If you have a pet at home, there's no doubt you miss him or her. You're allowed to have your pet visit while you're a patient at Mary Free Bed. Before visitation, you or a family member must complete a form, sign a Hold Harmless Agreement, and bring in a record of vaccinations. You and your pet may visit in the 2nd-floor Recreation Room. Visits are held on an as-needed basis, at your request.

Pet Recreation

Pet recreation dogs must complete temperament screening by one of Mary Free Bed's recreational therapists and also complete a veterinary screening. These dogs, brought in by community members, are allowed to visit you in your room, if you'd like. If you're allergic to dogs or don't want to have a dog visit, you can opt out of this program.

Pet Therapy

Pet therapy dogs are sometimes used in occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, speech-language pathology, and therapeutic recreation to enhance the achievement of your goals. The dogs in this program are provided by trainers/owners in the community.

Pet enhanced therapy dogs must complete Canine Good Citizen® training, veterinary screening, and temperament testing to place them at therapy dog status. Some patients with specific medical issues may be unable to participate in this program.

Pet therapy occurs on a referral basis only.

© 2015 Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital., Grand Rapids, MI | 1.855.MFB.REHAB
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