Why do you need to do finger and hand activities for seniors? Isn’t it enough to do general exercises?
Our Amazing Hands
Our hands and fingers are an intricate arrangement of bones, muscles, nerves, veins and more. As you move into your senior years it becomes more important to exercise your hands and fingers. Doing finger and hand activities for seniors can strengthen every part of your hands and the rejuvenate the brain too!
Every movement from a person’s hand registers with the brain. That means that by maintaining dexterity in your hands you are keeping your brain young too. Exerting pressure with the hands and fingers strengthens the bones and muscles. Movement keeps the blood flowing in the veins.
However, doing something with a sense of purpose makes you focus more. By focusing on doing activities specifically for your hands and fingers, you will have done a service to yourself.
Motor Skills Are Affected By Health
Quality of life can be affected the hands being flexible and dexterous. Illnesses can affect the hands
or the sense of feeling in the hands. Doing finger and hand activities for seniors can reduce the effect of symptoms of chronic illness on your life.
Getting Down to Dexterity
As far as a senior has dexterity and can handle fine-motor tasks well, so will be their independence. The activities of daily living that we do include many things that require fine-motor skills.
Examples of these are:
- Closing zips and buttons while dressing.
- Finding a credit cards or small coins in a purse.
- Tapping on a touch screen to place a call.
- Holding a toothbrush and brushing.
- Coordinating hands and vision to put on glasses, earrings etc.
We have divided the activities list in to activities you can do on your own and activities that are more fun in a group. Doing activities on your own means you can do them at your own convenience. When you do senior activities in a group there are social gains as well, plus there is greater motivation.
Activities for One Person
- Stacking coins, counters or checkers
- Press items where you press small buttons, such as a remote control, or an electronic game such as Simon
- Using a manual computer mouse, with left and right buttons and a scroll button.
- Open and lock a small padlock and a large padlock.
- Closing and opening a belt with a buckle and other fastening.
- Squeeze water out of a sponge or small towel.
- Squeezing a ‘stress ball’ (made of memory foam or a latex balloon filled with flour).
- Using rubber bands for resistance, make your hands into a flower (stretch open) or a bud (bring fingers together to a point). While you do it, say “Flower, bud, flower, bud.”
- Sort small items, such as pretty buttons, whole spice seeds, pasta shapes, or jewelry.
- Play a musical instrument.
- Turn door handles and screw bottle caps.
- Use an eye dropper to squeeze drops of water and fill a cup.
- Listen to music, snap your fingers and clap your hands in rhythm.
Activities Suitable for Groups
- Use hand tools such as screwdrivers, light hammers for making craft items
- Throw a ball between two people or a group.
- Make jewelry, you can order a jewelry making kit or create your own, using simple craft materials.
- Group musical activity, with melodious instruments and percussion instruments.
- Set up a ‘contest’ to move small items from one bowl to another using a teaspoon.
- Paint using a paintbrush, finger paints (very good for the sensory part of us). No excuses that you are not artistic will be accepted! There are paint by numbers kits for beginners or the advanced painters among us.
- Join a knitting club, crocheting group or start an embroidery evening.
You can find more ideas for activities:
Activities for Seniors that help with Fine Motor Skills – Medicalopedia
Playing String Games – WikiHow
Ideas for making paper figures – OrigamiFun.com
Let’s end the discussion about finger and hand activities for seniors with a few words of encouragement. When you see your finished efforts or the craft you have built, think of it as money in the bank. The efforts you are putting in now will stand you in good stead for the years ahead. In addition to working on flexibility in your hands and fingers, it is so important to do activities that you love.
Encourage yourself and your friends, smile to yourself and your friends as you perform . Your happiness in doing your activity will show in your happy hands. Many are they that say: “Busy hands are happy hands!”