A loss or decline in mobility is inevitable as we age. The degree to which one loses mobility will vary from person to person. As does when it starts to happen and where. Some seniors will very gradually become less mobile as their bodies age. Others experience a sudden loss through injuries from falls, a stroke, neurological conditions like dementia, etc. No matter what the case, deteriorating mobility makes it difficult for seniors to engage in many of the activities they were used to. There are many mobility aids that help. However, older adults often experience physical and mental distress as a result of their body’s new limitations. Time outdoors has many physical and mental health benefits. But ageing adults will find themselves confined to their homes or rooms for all kinds of reasons like bad weather, being bedridden after surgery, or self-isolating due to COVID.
Do you have an elderly loved one or client who is physically handicapped in some capacity? You’re bound to be seeking ideas for indoor activities for seniors with limited mobility. As we enter the winter months that can leave us all feeling a bit cooped up and bored, it’s especially important to keep seniors active and uplifted. Here are some in-home, limited mobility-friendly activities that can be done with the help of family members or professional caregivers.
Yoga, Tai Chi, aerobics and strength/resistance exercises have all been adapted to accommodate those with limited mobility – and can even be done in a mobility scooter. Seniors can loosen their joints and increase their heart rate, flexibility, strength and mood all while sitting down! Chair exercises are perfect for groups, making them a great addition to an assisted living activity calendar. If a group setting isn’t possible, there are many YouTube videos for someone to follow along at home.
Being able to create and care for things is a fundamental part of being human. This is the reason why things like art therapy, pet therapy, and doll therapy are successful with the elderly. Creativity and caregiving give people a sense of purpose and agency. These activities allow seniors to feel competent, responsible and helpful rather than limited and always needing help. Tending to a herb garden or house plant collection is a great way for someone with limited mobility to feel a sense of accomplishment, curiosity and capability. Look for low-maintenance indoor plants like the Spider plant, Chinese money plant, Devil’s ivy, Peperomia, Peace lily, succulents, etc.
Tracing Family History
A little genealogy digging is a great challenge for a senior with mobility issues. Never in their life has so much genealogical information be available to them. With access to sites like Ancestry.com and DNA tests like 23andMe, they may be able to connect with new relatives and trace family origins they never knew existed. To one day leave behind the legacy of a full-fledged family tree can be a meaningful and purpose-giving task to take on, too.
There are many perks of having a device like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. Many homebound seniors find it comforting to know that they can rely on these devices to remind them to take medications, call their sister on her birthday, or order toilet paper. Alexa can be commanded to turn off the lights, call an ambulance or say what time it is. As for activities, Alexa can be a great source of entertainment. She can play music and audiobooks, ask trivia questions, tell jokes, find an answer to any question you may have and read the news headlines.
Arts & Crafts
If someone still has good use of their hands, learning a creative skill or taking up a crafting hobby is a great way to have fun indoors. Some ideas include:
- Knitting or crocheting
- Painting models
- Working on model trains or model houses
Audiobooks or Podcasts
If eyesight or dexterity is an issue, listening to audiobooks can be more manageable than trying to hold and ready a physical book. This is a great learning activity, as there are podcasts and books on every topic imaginable. Plus, unlike books which require full attention, podcasts and audiobooks can be listened to while someone gets things done around the house, watches the birds in their garden, or does a puzzle.