Recreation and Leisure Studies

Nancy E. Richeson Ph.D.

Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies; Coordinator of Gerontology Certificate Program


G26 Masterton Hall, Portland Campus

Office Hours

By appointment

Contact Information

Phone: 207-780-4646

“As our population ages and dementia becomes more prevalent, recreational therapists can provide important, non-drug approaches to caring for older adults.”

- Nancy E. Richeson, Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies

Academic Degrees
University of Nebraska at Lincoln, PhD Gerontology 2001
University of Southern Maine, CAS, Adult Education, focus in gerontology, 1998
University of Nebraska at Omaha, MA Recreation Administration, 1986
Mankato State University, BS Therapeutic Recreation, 1980

Professional Licenses
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Reiki Master/Teacher
Energy Medicine Practitioner
Animal-Assisted Therapy Tester/Observer

Nancy Richeson has been at the forefront of developing recreational therapy interventions for use in the care of older adults. “Non-drug, psycho-social interventions are important alternatives because pharmacological treatments have limited effectiveness for certain behaviors in older adults with dementia––and can have serious side effects.”

Dr. Richeson’s research interests include creating evidence-based practice in recreational therapy by testing the effects of such interventions as animal-assisted therapy, Reiki, and pedometers. In addition to coordinating USM’s online gerontology program, she teaches a variety of courses in the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department as well as health/geriatric-related course work, including wellness education and health in later years.

Recently Dr. Richeson and her colleagues developed a recreational therapy assessment in long-term care titled the BANDI-RT. She has been on the board of directors for the American Therapeutic Recreation Association and the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification. She was recognized as the American Therapeutic Recreation Association's Member of the Year in 2003 and in 2011 was awarded the Scholarly Achievement award. In 2012, Dr. Richeson took on the role of Editor-in-Chief of the American Therapeutic Recreation Journal

Research Interests

Non-drug approaches to care for older adults; Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Health Care; Evidence-Based Practice in Recreational Therapy

Recent Publications

Richeson, N.E. (2012). Recreational therapy’s role in creating therapeutic environments for older adults.  Journal of Art and Design, No.2. p. 37-50.
Buettner, L., Richeson, N.E., Connoly, P. (2011). Content validity, reliability, and treatment outcomes of the Buettner assessment of needs, diagnoses, and interests for recreational therapy in long-term care (BANDI-RT). American Journal of Recreational Therapy, 10(3), p. 39-54.
Rose, K., Yu, F., Palmer, J., Richeson, N., & Burgener, S. (2010). Care considerations for persons with early onset dementia: A case studies analysis. Alzheimer’s Care Today, 11(3), 151-161
S.C Burgener, L. Buettner, K Coen Buckwalter, E. Beattie, A.L. Bossen, D. Fick, S Fitzsimmons, A. Kolanowski, N.E. Richeson, K. Rose, A. Schreiner, J.K. Pringle Specht, I Testad, F. Yu, S. McKenzie. (2007). Consensus Report: Review of Scientific Evidence Addressing Prevalence, Documented Needs, and Interdisciplinary Research. Persons in Early Stage Alzheimer’s Dementia. Submitted to National Alzheimer’s Association. 1-141.
Richeson, N.E. Brady, E. M. (2008). Health Promotion for Older Adults with Early-Stage Dementia: Tending to the Mind, Body, and Spirit. Life Long Learning Institute Review. 33. 93-99.

Richeson, N.E. Janssen, M. A., McMahan, C., Van Puymbroeck, M, & Buettner, L.L. (2008). Therapeutic Recreation Interventions for Older Adults and their Caregivers. American Journal of Recreation Therapy. 7(1). 7-10.

Richeson, N.E., (2007). Recreation as a spiritual practice for older adults with dementia. Activity Directors’ Quarterly. 3(4). 1-5.
S.C Burgener, L. Buettner, K Coen Buckwalter, E. Beattie, A.L. Bossen, D. Fick, S Fitzsimmons, A. Kolanowski, N.E. Richeson, K. Rose, A. Schreiner, J.K. Pringle Specht, I Testad, F. Yu, S. McKenzie.  (November, 2007). Evidence supporting nutritional interventions for persons in early stage Alzheimer's disease (AD). Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, 1-4.
Buettner, L.L, Richeson, N.E., Yu, F., Burgener, S.C., Buckwalter, K.C., Beattie, E., Bossen, A.L., Fick, D., Fitzsimmons, S., Kolanowski, A., Rose, K., Schreiner, A., Specht, J. Testad, I., McKenzie, S. (2008). Evidence supporting exercise interventions for persons in early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). American Journal of Recreation therapy. 7(1). 17-24
Richeson, N.E., Boyne, S., & Brady, E.M. (2007). Education for older adults with early-stage dementia: Health promotion for the mind, body, and spirit. Educational Gerontology, 33. 1-14.
Richeson, N.E., Buettner, L, McKenzie, S., Fitzsimmons, S., & Keller, J. (2007). Community-based recreation therapy for older adults. American Journal of Recreation Therapy. 5(4), 8-10.

Nature-based Tourism at USM

Enrollment in the Nature Tourism Minor can increase your understanding and enjoyment of nature while enhancing future employment opportunities in ecotourism and adventure recreation businesses, wilderness equipment outfitters, or organizations that focus on environmental education.

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