7 Safe Activities for Seniors with Mobility Limitations
By Chris Cruse 9 am on
Despite physical challenges, your senior loved one can still enjoy life and engage in meaningful activities. Here are seven suggestions addressing various degrees of mobility.
1. Tending Plants
Place potted plants around the home within your loved one’s reach. Buy a watering can with a long spout, and keep it filled with water. If windows don’t offer adequate light, your loved one can place plants under grow lights. For a senior who enjoys arranging flowers, provide a bouquet on a regular basis. Also, supply pruning shears, scissors, and a vase for crafting arrangements. Try to pick blooms with longevity, such as carnations, chrysanthemums, lilies, Gerbera daisies, and dahlias. If your loved one’s property allows for a garden, you can build raised beds. Designate an area that receives unobstructed sun for at least six hours daily. If your loved one uses a wheelchair, make pathways at least 3 feet wide with space at the ends for turning. Rather than dirt paths, install pavers to keep surfaces level. Otherwise, rain can render puddles, mud, and ruts. Ideally, raised beds should be 2 to 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. These dimensions offer easy access and prevent arm fatigue. Another option is raised planter boxes supported on wooden legs. Gardening may be easier with long-handled, easy-grip tools. If possible, store garden equipment in a nearby shed, along with a small wagon or rolling cart. A wagon made for a small child is perfect for this purpose, being lightweight with an extended handle. Gardening can also help your loved one experience a sense of accomplishment, which can enhance his or her quality of life. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Des Moines families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
2. Playing Online Games
Buy an annual subscription to Pogo.com, and your loved one can play games with other subscribers. The site offers bingo, casino, slots, hidden objects, Mahjong, Scrabble, cards, board games, puzzles, and word games. You can also subscribe your loved one to a brain training website such as Lumosity.com. Based on your loved one’s cognitive abilities, programmers will create games to exercise his or her brain. The intellectual skills targeted include concentration, flexibility, perception, memory, language, processing speed, problem-solving, and spatial reasoning. As your loved one progresses in the game, the degree of mental challenge gradually increases. A daily graph charts the results. Alternatively, your loved one can just play his or her favorite games.
3. Joining a Spiritual Community
Most churches and temples have ramp access to their buildings. A senior who is able to leave the home can attend worship services and other social gatherings such as bingo, fundraising dinners, and prayer meetings. Your loved one might want to volunteer during services as an usher, lector, cantor, or choir member, or he or she might join service organizations such as the Knights of Columbus or Rosary Society. Depending on the degree of mobility, other service opportunities are packing food for pantries or visiting the homebound and hospitalized. Seniors who are inspired to share their faith with children can teach Sunday School or a religious education class. Some houses of worship have outreaches that can be done from home. Examples are assembling rosaries, knitting prayer shawls, and making friendly phone calls to people confined to their homes.
4. Engaging in Safe Hobbies
A senior who enjoys making handcrafts can knit, crochet, quilt, sew, cross-stitch, or press flowers. Other fun hobbies include making jewelry, candles, and rugs. Even seniors who don’t consider themselves artistic can buy paint-by-number kits. Once complete, framed paintings can serve as gifts. Seniors with a knack for baking can share their delicious goodies. A musically inclined senior can learn how to play an instrument. Easiest to learn are the harmonica, glockenspiel, autoharp, triangle, guitar, and piano. Options for learning include instruction from a teacher, YouTube tutorials, videos, and online courses. The benefits of learning an instrument include a sense of accomplishment, greater confidence, and heightened self-esteem. Playing can also enhance memory, dexterity, and coordination. Another thrilling hobby is bird watching. Suction cup bird feeders come in clear acrylic and affix to exterior window glass. Your loved one will be fascinated by visits from local birds and charmed by their music. If your loved one needs help staying safe while enjoying hobbies, consider hiring an in-home caregiver. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading homecareprovider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Coloring stimulates both brain hemispheres. It calms the amygdala, the brain region that reacts to fear. Coloring likewise activates brain areas used for concentration, organization, and problem-solving. Additionally, it engages fine motor skills.
6. Attending Library Programs
Most libraries host programs suitable for physically challenged seniors. Buildings typically provide disabled access via curb cutouts and ramps. Activities commonly offered are movies, games, crafts, book discussions, seminars, history programs, current events, and poetry readings. Computers are available with free Internet access. Both fiction and nonfiction books are provided in audio and large print formats. Some facilities extend a delivery service to housebound seniors. Loaned resources include music, printed books, magazines, movies, and audiobooks. With a library membership, your loved one may be able to download videos, e-books, and audiobooks from a home computer.
7. Playing Classic Games
Gather friends and family for popular games such as bingo, Boggle, dominoes, Life, Operation, Mahjong, Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Yahtzee. Ideal for seniors is the Reminiscing game, summoning memories of life in the 1950s through 2000s. Categories include radio, movies, TV, music, trends, clothing, and events. Card games seniors often favor are bridge, canasta, cribbage, pinochle, rummy, and solitaire. Another option is activity books focused on decades such as the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. These books feature puzzles and games that jog memories of a given era. Activities are designed for both group and individual participation. Among them are questions about famous people, inventions, products, and history. Other mental challenges are word scrambles, searches, and fill-in-the-blanks. At the back of each activity book are answer keys. Providing care for an older adult with limited mobility can be challenging. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Des Moines, IA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To schedule a no-obligation consultation, give us a call today at (515) 264-2438.