"Helping an Elderly Loved One Improve Their Fine Motor Skills"

"Has your elderly parent suffered from a stroke or other health condition that has made it too difficult to control their hand movements or other body parts? Fortunately, there are some activities that can help strengthen their fine motor skills, making it easier for them to control their movements. By participating in a number of rehabilitation exercises, the senior can rewire the brain as a way to keep each muscle group active and strong.

Before beginning any exercise, make sure to get the approval from the senior’s doctor. An elder care provider may also be needed to assist your loved one with these exercises. Here are a few ways a caregiver can help strengthen the elder’s fine motor skills.

Hand Exercises

Hand exercises do not have to be boring to be effective. Here are a few creative ideas that will have the elder feeling youthful.
  • Finger painting. This activity is especially therapeutic for seniors who have a problem with verbally communicating how they feel or what they want. Finger painting will allow them to get all of their feelings out, while also allowing them to be creative.
  • Playdough. Let your elderly parent stretch, mold, and shape the playdough. This is an excellent activity for those who would like to strengthen their fingers.
  • Simple hand exercises. Simple hand exercises can be extremely effective, but the senior needs to be consistent with these exercises in order to notice the results. Some things they can do are put pegs in a pegboard, move beans from one bucket to another, wrap rubber bands around their fingers to exercise them, squeeze a stress ball. It could take hours of repeating these exercises in order for them to be effective, so encourage your loved one to do just that.
  • Help with chores. Even something as simple as folding laundry can improve the elder’s fine motor skills. Other things they can do include opening jars and containers, fastening hooks and buttons on clothing, and letting them organize shelves.
  • Create a tie-together fleece blanket. Fleece blankets with ties on all sides of the blanket are easy to make, yet will help strengthen finger muscles. Also, they will be proud to show off something they made themselves to family members and friends.
Many older adults lose the ability to control their hand and finger movements, especially if they have suffered from a stroke or other health condition. Encourage your loved one to try these activities in order to improve their fine motor skills."

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