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Tips to Help Your Senior Loved One Boost Manual Dexterity

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

Maintaining or building manual dexterity is an important part of health at any age. However, it can be an especially important concern for seniors since they often lose manual dexterity, which allows us to use our hands effectively. A senior’s independence and ability to care for himself or herself and complete daily tasks strongly depend on this basic skill. Help your senior loved one build up manual dexterity by practicing the following exercises recommended by Nashville Home Care Assistance.

Tying and Fastening

Procure some items of clothing with various types of fasteners including shoelaces, overalls, buttons, snaps, zippers, and Velcro. Have your senior loved one practice manipulating these closures until he or she can open and close each type with ease. Depending on your senior loved one’s level of dexterity, you may need to start with and perfect only one type of fastener at a time before working on the next one. Work on this exercise in short bursts for no more than ten minutes at a time to prevent frustration or overexertion.

Playing with Sand

To increase your senior loved one’s fine motor skills and the dexterity in each finger, have him or her practice tracing letters and words into a bowl or plate of sand. If you don’t have natural sand nearby, you can get some from a craft store. Have your loved one practice writing both letters and words. You can even have your loved one incorporate symbols. Don’t forget to encourage him or her to practice writing in the sand using the non-dominant hand and use more than the pointer finger, as well.

Using Coloring Books

This is a manual dexterity exercise your senior loved one might enjoy doing with the grandkids (or even you). If your senior loved one has average fine motor skills, use one of the adult coloring books since they have smaller, more challenging designs. Otherwise, you can stick with a traditional children’s coloring book. Encourage your senior loved one to focus on making different types of strokes, both narrow and broad. Provide a number of mediums for your senior loved one to practice with since the hands use these in different ways. For instance, try to supply markers, crayons, and colored pencils and encourage your senior loved one to use all of these. Coloring a large page will definitely take a lot of energy for your senior loved one’s hands, so don’t be surprised if he or she can’t finish a whole page right away.

Some seniors may have trouble building up manual dexterity right away, which is why he or she may benefit from in-home assistance. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of dementia, stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care in Nashville that strives to help seniors age in place by helping daily activities of living. From personal care and mobility assistance to companionship and emotional support, we aim to promote senior health and wellbeing. To give your loved one the home care he or she deserves, contact Home Care Assistance at (615) 656-4999 today and schedule a free in-home consultation.