Every stage of life has delights and challenges. When we reach middle age and older, we're often freer to pursue some interests we didn't have time for when we were younger and going to school, working and raising a family.
At The Gardens at Barry Road Assisted Living community in Kansas City, our goal is to help residents find opportunities to enjoy whatever activities they choose, including hobbies that use the small muscles, nerves and tendons in your hands. Playing a musical instrument, painting, knitting or even enjoying a game with small pieces can become difficult if your small motor functioning has deteriorated with age.
It's important to protect hand strength and flexibility for activities of daily living, such as buttoning or zipping your clothes or carrying a cup of hot tea. Managing eating utensils well improves the enjoyment of meals by decreasing anxiety about dropping them or the food. The Gardens at Barry Road offer physical and occupational therapy services and exercise programs that assist with maintaining and improving the small motor function skills you'll need to enjoy all aspects of life.
Small motor function is also called fine motor function because it requires fine, precise movements of the muscles, tendons and bones in the hand. An example is picking up a small object like a coin or paper clip using the thumb and index finger in a pinching movement.
Decreased motor function can be caused by problems anywhere along the path between the brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles and bones involved in making small movements. This often occurs as you age because of loss of muscle, nerve deterioration, arthritic joints and tendon issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Certain conditions like Parkinson's disease and stroke occur in the brain and can also affect the fine movements of the hands and fingers.
Losing your ability to perform fine skills with your hands doesn't have to be a lifelong sentence of awkwardness, inability to dress and feed yourself or engagement in beloved hobbies. Below, we've suggested five routes to better small motor function.
There are many activities you can do in your assisted living apartment or the common areas of the community. The goal is to strengthen small hand muscles, re-wire certain areas of the brain through repetition, increase flexibility and optimize your nerves' ability to receive and transmit messages from your brain to your muscles. Some suggested activities include:
Virtually any activity that uses your hands and fingers can improve your small motor functioning if it's practiced regularly. And you don't need a gym or any special equipment!
Physical therapy professionals focus on your body's conditioning, and occupational therapists concentrate on working with you on performing important activities of daily living. Our assisted living community at Kansas City's The Gardens at Barry Road makes both types of therapy available to you as a resident.
While focusing on protecting your small motor skills by using your hands to practice small movements, don't forget that working your body with activities you enjoy improves your overall health, strength and circulation as well as your state of mind. Whether it's an afternoon of golf, going for a swim or simply taking a walk around our beautiful grounds, aerobic exercise increases motivation and body consciousness that supports your efforts on your small motor function.
Planned exercise programs are another way to get moving without driving to the gym. Besides helping to shape and strengthen your body, exercise classes provide much-needed socialization opportunities. Experienced trainers put you through your paces and offer assistance when necessary.
Not only will you find new and different ingredients and methods, but you'll also be using your hands to measure, pour, knead and stir them into delicious dishes. All our apartments are equipped with kitchenettes where you can practice your new skills when you prefer to dine at home.
From card games to board games, you'll find a wide selection of things to do with your hands in the game and activities center. Soon you'll be shuffling cards and picking up game pieces with confidence. It's also an ideal spot to meet up with friends or make new ones.
If you're more the outdoor type, you can practice your hand-eye coordination by playing a rousing game of badminton or bocci or tossing a ball back and forth. The Gardens community is pet-friendly, so be sure to engage in a game of fetch with your pup or ping-pong ball "soccer" with your feline fur baby.
*Please don't remove this section it is working with 3 TalkFurther buttons on live url