Profile for Nancy Richeson

Nancy Richeson profile photo

Specialty area(s)

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

Brief biography

“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,, PhD, CTRS, Associate Professor
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern Maine

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. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in the Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation Department.

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. Most recently (2014), she was recognized as a Fellow in the National Academy of Recreational Therapy (NART).

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


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 history

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, 2014
University of Southern Maine, 1991 to 2014
Iowa State University, 1989 to 1991

Research and publishing

Recent Publications

Gugliucci, M.R.; Perweiler, E.; Weaver, S.A.; Richeson, N.E.; & Hageman, P.A. (2014). Foundational Gerontology/Geriatrics Curricula Guidelines for Health Related Programs, Chapter in: Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology Programs – Fifth Edition. Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Washington, DC

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.