If you are caring for someone with limited mobility, it can be difficult to come up with new activities to keep them active and reduce boredom. There are the usual suspects like TV, radio or reading, but a person can only watch so many television shows and sitting in front of the television all days isn’t good for keeping their mind active and sharp.
While television is an easy fix for entertainment, which allows a caregiver to get things done, there are other activities that can also offer engagement that don’t require a caregiver to be an active participant.
Here are some activities that can engage their mind that they can either do alone or with you.
- Gaming: Video games are no longer just for kids. A few years ago the Nintendo Wii was being used in nursing homes as a way to keep the community active. If your parent has mobility issues, they can still play Wii Bowling or Tennis. You can also get them a handheld video game such as Tetris to keep their mind sharp. I had a 92 year old client who used to carry a video poker game in her purse and play while she waited for her ride to pick her up.
- iPad Game: Similar to video games, there are many iPad games that seniors can play to keep their mind sharp. My son plays chess on his iPad. There are also trivia games and popular game show games available, such as Wheel of Fortune.
- Board Games or Card Games: If your parent has a friend or neighbor or you to play with, playing an old fashioned board game is a nice activity that takes up some time and can be done with physical limitations. If your parent is able to get out, you can also consider having him/her join a senior center where they can play with other seniors and make new friends.
- Creative Endeavors: Whether your parent is able to use a computer or not, they can still record family treasures. They can create a family history or a record special family recipes. They can also learn new creative activities such as knitting, crochet or even coloring in adult coloring books.
- Exercise: Just because someone has mobility challenges, doesn’t mean they can’t exercise. There are a number of chair exercises and seated exercises on YouTube that your parent can check out and do at home. Any exercise is better than no exercise. Of course, if they are able to get up and out, you should encourage them to go for short or long walks. When it comes to muscle tone, it really is use it or lose it.
- Volunteer Activities: Whether your parent is able to get out or not, there are a number of volunteer activities they can do from home. They can make phone calls for a non profit they support. They can also read to children at the library, or if they can’t get to the library, they can read to children in the neighborhood. Many non profit organizations need help stuffing envelopes or writing or reviewing materials. There are a number of tasks that can be done from home or a computer. Volunteering can help your parent feel like a valued member of the community.
- Take a Ride: We had a client who had dementia and aphasia. Even though she had difficulty communicating and was in a wheelchair, her children stilled hired us to take her for a ride two times per week. We would either do a “city” drive, where we’d head into Hollywood and drive through new neighborhoods or we’d take a “beach” ride where we’d head to the coast and park near the ocean so that we could watch the ocean. While she wasn’t able to communicate, it was clear that she enjoyed herself.
Just because someone isn’t able to get out and about, doesn’t mean they have to just sit or lie in bed all day. The more engaging activities you can do together or they can do alone, the less likely they will suffer from bouts of depression.