When aging brings physical challenges for a senior loved one, creative activities can brighten his or her life. Despite reduced mobility, your loved one can capitalize on the intact faculties. Some hobbies boost cognitive function, dexterity, flexibility, and muscle tone. Here are ways to keep your loved one delightfully engaged.
Create Gift Baskets
Just imagine your loved one’s excitement while designing a gift basket. Selecting the treasures involves decision-making, and arranging them for presentation takes hand-eye coordination. Throughout the activity, your loved one exercises the shoulders, arms, and hands. When the gift basket is complete, he or she reaps the joy of achievement.
First, your loved one decides on a theme. Examples are toys for a grandchild, pampering spa products for a busy daughter, and gardening supplies for a friend with a green thumb. A basket for an avid reader could hold works by a favorite author, bookmarks, and a mini-light. A gift for a great cook might include kitchen tools, a recipe book, and gourmet foods.
Once you have a theme, gather the supplies. Along with the basket and gift items, you’ll need one or more hand towels, tissue paper, cellophane wrap, a long twist-tie, ribbon, a gift card, and tape. To assemble the objects, first line the basket with toweling. Then, arrange the items, aiming for a balanced look. Using tissue paper, anchor the objects in place. Next, enclose the basket in cellophane, securing the top with the twist-tie and ribbon. After completing the gift card, tape it to the cellophane. Lastly, as a memento for your loved one, take a picture of the finished gift.
Seniors with limited mobility can benefit greatly from engaging in creative projects at home. However, some tasks may be unsafe to perform without supervision from a caregiver. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Philadelphia families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
Houseplant care can be an ongoing source of joy for your loved one. While watering, pruning, and fertilizing, the arms are exercising. Meanwhile, houseplants clean the air, infusing it with energizing oxygen. Plants confer relaxation through their repeating patterns, called “fractals.” Just gazing at fractals releases calming alpha brainwaves. Seeing greenery also boosts optimism, focus, and productivity. Plus, the company of plants lowers blood pressure and pain perception.
Easy-care houseplants for seniors include African violet, Chinese evergreen, peace lily, peperomia, golden pothos, English ivy, and spider plant. Additionally, among bulbs, the amaryllis is spectacular.
Around Christmastime, look for established plants with emerging buds at nurseries, garden centers, and florists. Potted bulbs are also sold online. The showy blossoms are available in red, white, peach, orange, and stripes.
Mobiles are jazzy focal points for home décor. They can also serve as gifts to parents of infants. Making a mobile hones your loved one’s dexterity, coordination, and fine motor skills. While balancing the suspended objects, the brain is busy with analysis and problem-solving. Absorbed in quiet concentration, your loved one enters a calm state resembling meditation. Sadness and worry are reduced, and pride in the finished product releases the brain chemical dopamine, instilling confidence, joy, and self-esteem.
For a simple mobile design, obtain stiff felt, shape templates, scissors, a marking pen, a hole punch, an adhesive ceiling hook, a wire wreath frame, and fishing line. You’ll find these supplies at craft stores and online.
First, your loved one uses the templates and marking pen to trace objects onto the felt. After cutting out the shapes, punch a hole in the top of each one. From the fishing line, cut different lengths for each shape. For example, snip 1 foot of line, with each subsequent length about 2 inches shorter. Then, loop the fishing line through the hole in each felt piece and tie the shapes to the wreath frame, knotting the ends. To balance the shapes, hang two a time. To suspend the mobile, cut four pieces of fishing line of equal length. Tie each piece to the wreath, spaced evenly apart. Above the wreath, gather the ends and knot them. Lastly, hang the mobile from a ceiling hook, and admire your loved one’s handiwork.
Play Classic Board Games
Each time your loved one plays a board game, his or her cognitive skills are sharpened. Strategic thinking stimulates the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, brain regions used for data analysis, decision-making, long-term memory, and spatial navigation. In fact, a 2013 French study cited by BMJ Open found that playing board games cuts the risk of dementia by 15 percent.
Through lighthearted play, laughter releases endorphins, brain chemicals that relax muscles, lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and ease pain. Neuropeptides flood the bloodstream, building immunity. Each successful play triggers a burst of dopamine. Plus, handling game pieces and shuffling cards increases dexterity, coordination, and fine motor skills. Repetitive movements ease arthritic pain and stiffness. They also quicken response time and reflexes.
Trained caregivers can engage seniors in a wide array of stimulating games, and they can also offer companionship and assistance with daily tasks. Philadelphia elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Do Chair Yoga
Specially adapted for seniors with limited mobility, chair yoga consists of gentle stretches, done seated or standing with chair support. Poses can target all body regions. Some yoga teachers incorporate breathing techniques and meditation.
Consistent practice enhances flexibility, strength, balance, immunity, and sleep. If your loved one has chronic pain, mild yoga stretches can relieve or reduce it. Plus, the risk of falls will be lower with better stability. Your loved one may also enjoy greater functional ability. When performed with a group, chair yoga encourages socialization. Certified yoga instructors often hold classes at senior centers, libraries, fitness centers, and yoga studios.
Aging adults with mobility limitations may need some help from family members to stay active in the golden years. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Philadelphia, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break. To learn about our effective senior care plans, contact us today at (215) 645-4663.