Activities for Regaining Fine Motor Skills After a Stroke
A stroke can cause a senior to lose much of the fine motor skills needed to perform daily tasks, like dressing and eating. Following a stroke, patients usually enter a rehab program aimed at helping them to recover as much of their previous function as possible. If your parent has had a stroke, they may have worked with an occupational therapist to learn how to use their arms and fingers again. The occupational therapist might have given your parent some activities to work on at home. Doing the same activities over and over may get a little boring, making your parent neglect the exercises or lose hope in recovery. To keep things fresh and get in the practice needed to regain fine motor skills, here’s a list of activities your parent can work on with some help from their family caregivers and elderly care providers.
Make a Bead Necklace
Purchase some colorful beads with holes large enough to thread onto yarn. Stringing the beads on the yarn is great practice for making fingers nimble again. As an added benefit, young grandchildren will probably enjoy doing this activity right along with their grandparent, which will almost certainly make it more fun!
Squeeze a Stress Ball
Squeezing a stress ball may not sound like much fun, but it’s something your parent can do while they are doing something else, like watching television or listening to an audiobook. Squeezing a stress ball will help your parent to strengthen hand muscles. Elderly care providers can encourage your parent to work on this activity just by periodically handing them the ball while they are engaged in something else.
Provide your parent with a bowl of coins to stack into towers. Okay, that may not sound like much fun, but make it into a challenge and the activity changes! Elderly care providers can track your parent’s personal best score for coins stacked and cheer them on while they try to set a new record.
Here’s another one your parent can do with grandchildren. Finger painting requires some hand-eye coordination, so your parent will be working on controlling hand movements.
Your parent’s elderly care provider can ask them to help fold clothes and sort socks. This is a practical exercise that works on fine motor skills while also helping your parent to feel useful and more independent.
Large Piece Puzzles
Buy a few jigsaw puzzles that have large pieces for your parent to do. Look for puzzles with 25 to 50 pieces, which usually have larger pieces. As your parent masters those puzzles, look for ones with progressively smaller pieces.
Working on fine motor skills doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. These are just a few ideas for your parent to practice with you or with an elderly care provider. Almost anything that involves using the hands can be a way for your parent to regain the hand function they once had.