If your image of a therapeutic recreation director for residents with dementia is middle-aged, authoritative and in a white lab coat, think again. Danielle Ancona, who started as a high school student and part-time receptionist 14 years ago, is therapeutic recreation director at Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. She is young (32), has long, wavy, coppery red hair, and often wears boots and leggings.
The fascinating part of the story is that when Ms. Ancona was a Norwalk High School student, she worked part-time at Wilton Meadows as a receptionist. “I brought my homework and did it at the front desk,” she recalls. She then became an aide in the recreation department, and after graduation from UConn Stamford, she went through an intensive geriatric training program and realized her future career would be with the elderly, especially the frailest, “those most in need of a human touch.”