8 Safe Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility

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8 Activities That Are Safe for Seniors with Limited Mobility

By Glenn Krakow, 9:00 am on

Despite physical challenges, your senior loved one can still enjoy life and engage in meaningful activities. Here are eight suggestions addressing various degrees of mobility.

1. Tend Plants

Place potted plants around the home within reach of your loved one. 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 flower arranging, 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 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 your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of El Dorado County senior care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

2. Play 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. Join 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. Engage in Safe Hobbies

A senior woman who enjoys making handcrafts can knit, crochet, quilt, sew, cross-stitch, or press flowers. Other fun hobbies for women are making jewelry, candles, and rugs. A man might like to build birdhouses and models.

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 scrumptious 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 your loved one’s 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. 

5. Start Coloring

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. Make Cards

With computer software, your loved one can make professional-grade greeting cards. For 2017, top-rated programs are Print Artist Gold, Hallmark Card Studio, Greeting Card Factory, Greeting Card Studio, Print Shop Deluxe, CraftArtist 2 Professional, and PrintMaster Platinum. 

Another option is subscribing to an e-card website. Recipients are entertained by engaging music and animation. At 123Greetings, most e-cards are free. With most other websites, membership fees are inexpensive and include unlimited cards.

7. Attend 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. 

Gaining popularity among libraries is Reminisce Story Time, which includes singing, photographs, props, short stories, and retro activities. For a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, ask a librarian about the Music and Memory Program, currently offered nationwide in the US.

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. El Dorado County, CA, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Computers are available with free Internet access. ZoomText software may be included, which magnifies screen images for seniors with impaired vision. 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.

8. Play 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 favored by seniors 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. 

Make sure your loved one remains safe while performing activities and daily tasks. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. El Dorado County seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To learn about our high-quality senior care plans, give us a call at (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411 today.