Improving Fine Motor Skills in Senior Citizens
Updated: Jan 25
What are fine motor skills?
While many know that fine motor skills are the small, precise movements that involve our hands and feet, many people do not realize that fine motor skills also apply to our lips, tongue and even our eyes.
That’s because fine motor skills refers to movements that use tiny muscles in coordination with the brain and the nervous system.
As our senior citizens age, it's natural for them to experience a decline in fine motor skills. Some medical conditions that affect fine motor skills are:
Arthritis: This condition can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, making it difficult to perform fine motor tasks such as buttoning a shirt or writing with a pen.
Parkinson's disease: This neurological disorder can cause tremors and stiffness in the limbs, making it difficult to perform precise movements.
Stroke: A stroke can damage the brain, leading to problems with coordination and fine motor skills.
Dementia: Dementia can affect a person's ability to process information and make decisions, which can make it difficult to perform fine motor tasks.
Aging and losing fine motor skills can become frustrating for senior citizens but luckily Christian Companions Houston has compiled a list of tips to help mitigate and manage the decline of fine motor skills.
Using a keyboard and mouse regularly can actually help improve fine motor skills.
Computer based activities, be it games or surfing the web usually require precision and control which helps strengthen dexterity in both hands.
Speed and accuracy can increase over time when done regularly. Moreover, computer-based activities have the added benefit of visual feedback that keeps seniors engaged more than traditional paper-based activities do.
Senior citizens that are concerned with their fine motor skills can consider making jewelry as both a hobby and a way to maintain their motor functions.
Using tweezers and bending wires requires considerable concentration and really tasks the fingers to try their best. Senior citizens can choose a design or medium that suits their level of ability best.
For senior citizens with weaker hand strength, even stringing some beads into a necklace or bracelet requires concentration and planning. Drafting up designs by pencil and paper also adds a layer of practice to the journey.
Origami, or Japanese paper folding, is another fantastic way to engage senior citizens’ fine motor skills.
One of the best aspects of origami is how simple it is to begin. All you need is some paper! And no, it doesn’t have to be any kind of special or fancy origami paper, although it could be. You can begin making cranes and jumping frogs with newspaper, printer paper, or from old magazines.
Knitting and Crocheting
Knitting or crocheting are two other wonderful activities that double as a hobby and as fine motor skill maintenance.
Not only does the act of knitting or crocheting require the repetitive use of our fingers and wrist muscles, but it also helps with pattern recognition and hand-eye coordination.
Practicing fiber arts is also a pleasant way to improve fine motor skills as the hands and fingers are constantly touching fibers that are pleasant against the skin.
And after each project, senior citizens will have a new pair of mittens or a blanket to boot!
Sculpting is another fantastic art outlet where senior citizens can practice and maintain their fine motor skills.
Because of the tactile nature of sculpting, those who engage in it really start to use their hands to the fullest extent and receive instant feedback from the medium.
Each indent with a particular finger creates its own pattern or indentation and it really encourages you to try different hand and finger positions. Moreover, senior citizens looking to really improve their fine motor skills can increase the difficulty by using the many tools associated with sculpting. From ribbers, to sponges and even spatulas, each tool requires its own finesse and hand movements.
Christian Companions knows just how important fine motor skills can be for every day life for our senior citizens and we're here to help!
Reach out to us today and we can find a caregiver to help the senior citizen in your life. From daily activities such as preparing meals, getting dressed, light housework, running errands, and help with medication our compassionate caregivers are ready and eager to assist.