Having limited mobility is a fact of life for many older adults, and is the reason that many of our wonderful clients require a little extra help at home. As we get older, our bodies – and often our minds – aren’t quite as spritely as they used to be. But that doesn’t mean that we should give up on our favourite hobbies and activities as we age, and be restricted to watching TV.
Far from it!
For those living with restricted mobility, there are still plenty of fun things to keep us mentally and physically active. Here are just a few fun activities for senior citizens with limited mobility.
Meditation has become incredibly popular in recent years. However, it’s actually a very ancient tradition, commonly found in Buddhist and Hindu religious texts. In fact, evidence of the practice of meditation in one form or another can be found across many religious and cultural traditions.
Meditation aims to quiet the mind and remove oneself from the distractions of the outside world, to bring inner peace. Far from a solely spiritual activity, meditation has been proven to have real benefits for the mind and body. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental health, increase happiness, and have far-reaching health benefits. So, if you’ve never tried meditation (sometimes called ‘mindfulness’) and think that you or your senior loved one might be able to benefit from it, you can read more about the practice and how to begin here.
Meditation is about far more than just ‘emptying the mind’ and can actually be a lot trickier than it sounds. The good news is, even just a little practice a few times a week can reap benefits. It can be done in silence, or even while listening to music. Your local area might even have several meditation group classes or one-on-one tutors available to get you (or your loved one) started.
Physical activity is important, even for those with mobility issues. However, getting to the gym for a workout or a group exercise class can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of low-intensity workouts that can be done from the comfort of one’s own home – even from the comfort of a favourite chair!
Studies show that even older adults should keep up with regular exercise. In fact, exercising on a regular basis can become even more important in old age, in order to strengthen bones and muscles to protect against breakages and injury, improve hand-eye coordination, and to keep the mind and body healthy in general.
Chair exercises are wonderful activities for elderly people living with limited or restricted mobility, or even for those living with dementia, as they are low-risk and can do wonders for one’s health. (In fact, not only do they help us to stay active, but can assist us to stay mentally fit too!) From stretching and strength training to the odd bit of cardiovascular work, chair exercises can work out the whole body! For some great ideas for chair exercises aimed at elderly people, watch this video.
Gardening is a relaxing and therapeutic activity for many people, even those living with limited mobility. It’s a great way to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and commune with nature. For those who struggle to reach the ground for planting, weeding and harvesting the goodies grown in the garden, raised garden beds are a fantastic solution. These can be bought from your local hardware or gardening store (or Bunnings, for example) and be installed at a height that is easy to reach without too much bending down.
Planter boxes are another good alternative and can be used around the house, near windows, atop tables, and on patios, for example. Planter boxes are great for growing flowers, herbs and more. There are a huge variety of both planter boxes and raised garden beds available from your Bunnings or local hardware or gardening store.
Fishing is an age-old pastime enjoyed by people of all ages. For those with limited mobility, fishing is a good way to get outdoors, get some fresh air and even spend time with loved ones, as it’s a very chair-friendly activity. In Australia, we are blessed with endless coastlines and waterways, which are great for fishing. And one needn’t be a Rex Hunt to enjoy throwing a line in, either.
Amateur fishermen and fisherwomen all over the country enjoy this pastime as a way to relax and enjoy time outdoors alone or with friends. All that’s needed is a comfy portable chair, an inexpensive fishing rod, some bait or lures, and a hat to protect the noggin against the sunshine. All of these supplies can be bought from your local Kmart or outdoor adventure store.
Sewing, arts & crafts, and games
Sewing and arts & crafts are very popular activities for elderly people, especially for those experiencing limited mobility. These types of activities are easily enjoyed at home on one’s own, but can also be good fun to do with loved ones, especially the younger kids who enjoy getting involved in craft projects or playing games and puzzles. They can be incredibly inexpensive activities, and best of all, the arts and crafts projects make great gifts once they’re finished. From sewing doll clothes to embroidering cushions and keepsakes, crafting decorations, scrapbooking, crocheting and more – there are endless ways to create things at home, no matter your level of mobility. Pinterest has a huge range of craft ideas for seniors, including those with limited mobility or limited dexterity.
For those who love a game, board games and jigsaw puzzles can be fun activities for senior citizens and younger friends and family alike and can be enjoyed in pairs or small groups. Try a fun game like Monopoly, Scrabble, Snakes & Ladders, or any number of games available from your local games store or department store.
Writing is perhaps one of the best activities for seniors, whether they are living with limited mobility or not! Not only is writing a cathartic and relaxing activity, it can also be a wonderful way to preserve memories and stories for future generations. How many friends and family do you know who wish they’d known more about their elderly relatives before they’d passed away? Writing down a memoir of one’s favourite memories, life experiences, and important family information can be a wonderful gift for loved ones, to be enjoyed for generations to come. Of course, writing needn’t always be autobiographical.
Many seniors also love creating characters and stories for the simple pleasure of writing or sharing with others. Writing can be enjoyed by anyone living with limited mobility; all that’s needed is paper or a notebook and a pen. For those with limited dexterity who might have trouble holding a pen, smartphones and tablets have some wonderful ‘speech to text’ applications available. Simply record your words and the app will turn them into text for you to share with who you like!
Cooking and baking
Cooking and baking can be loads of fun for everyone and can also be enjoyed by those with limited mobility. In order to prepare a kitchen for use by someone with limited mobility, a few simple adjustments are required, including keeping ingredients at a reachable height and making sure pots, pans and utensils are within easy reach.
For those with trouble standing for extended periods of time, reaching the hob can be a little bit tricky. In that case, baking using the oven can be a more accessible option. There are countless recipe ideas to be found online, for both cooking and baking. Why not give some of these simple recipes a try next time?
Playing with and taking care of pets
Pets are a source of joy for so many of us and can be valuable companions in older age. In fact, research suggests that people who own pets often live longer than those who don’t! Not only do pets offer companionship to those living with limited mobility, they can also be wonderful support animals. Trained support animals can assist those living with conditions such as epilepsy, blindness, and even anxiety and depression and many senior day centres will even have a few animals come around to visit and interact with members, to offer companionship and a fun activity.
Guide Dogs Australia helps everyday Australians living with vision impairment to live freer and more independent lives. Contact them today to find out more about a Guide Dog for your senior loved one living with sight loss. PAWS Hearing Dogs are also custom trained to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
At Care For Family, we know the kinds of positive impacts that regular, stimulating activities can have on seniors whose mobility isn’t what it used to be. These are just some of our favourite activities for elderly people living with limited mobility. For those seniors experiencing restricted mobility who could use a little extra help to stay at home and maintain their independence, contact our team today and find out more about how the dedicated and compassionate carers at Care For Family could assist you or your senior loved one.
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