– Post updated 25 January 2020 –
If you’ve been talking goals with your client, there’s a good chance being more active is one of them. Mixing it up is a great way to promote well-being, providing mental, physical and social stimulation. Here are some ideas for things you can do with your client to help them stay active and healthy.
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts-related activities are great for clients with limited mobility. It doesn’t matter how complex or simple the art, it’s about having a go. Drawing, painting, sculpting or simply colouring can also improve hand-eye coordination which can improve confidence with other activities. Adult colouring in books have gained popularity in recent years, and could be a great starting point. For clients with dementia, art therapy can be a wonderful therapeutic tool.
If you want to get busy with glue, an activity like scrapbooking or making a collage of old photos can help clients connect with precious memories.
Board games and activities like crosswords and Sudoku are entertaining but also good for challenging the grey matter. Board games that include counting, spelling and decision-making encourage mental exercise. They can be done anywhere, are inexpensive and have varying levels of difficulty. So, you can even pack up the board and take your client down the road to a café, or out to the park.
For the more tech savvy, there are online computer games and there are millions of them on the internet, including sites like Staying Sharp. Alternatively, games like Bingo are a bit more social and could help encourage interaction with your client’s community.
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for people who are ageing. Once in the water, there’s very little chance of accidental falls and this non-weight bearing type of exercise eliminates the risk of injury.
Swimming strengthens core muscles and improves body posture. With proper supervision, regular swimming training can increase the heart rate, which in turn will reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. If your client is interested, you can both go online and search for a swimming coach or a support worker who’s keen on the water.
Dancing is not only social and good fun, it’s also likely to bring some happy memories for clients. Community colleges offer ballroom, tap, swing dancing and other styles tailored specifically to seniors.
Exercising with limited mobility
There are plenty of exercises available for people without the full range of movement, for example chair yoga. Exercising with limited mobility may pose some challenges but anyone can build a regular exercise routine. If your client would like some advice from a physio, the Mable platform now extends to Allied Health practitioners. Clients will value a support worker who can help them connect with a team of support that improves their lifestyle and wellbeing.
It’s important to plan some activity, but it’s also important to relax with music or in front of the screen. If your client has a hobby like sewing or knitting, they can keep themselves occupied while watching. You can help your client put together a list of documentaries, TV shows or films they’d like to watch in Netflix, and SBS On Demand and ABC iview have huge catalogues too. If your client is less tech-savvy and prefers reading the TV guide, you can plan some viewing at the beginning of the week and compare notes about your favourite reality TV shows.
If your client loves music, you can help put together a Spotify playlist or watch YouTube music videos together. There are also hundreds of radio stations available online on sites like TuneIn.
You might even find a production at the local community theatre, and take your client along for an evening of entertainment.
Have you tried some of these activities with your client? Why not share your story in the Facebook Community of Support Workers?