Being confined to a chair because of disability or failing health does not have to mean giving in to boredom. There are many exercises that can be undertaken and games that can be played, even when your legs won't carry you far. Wheelchair users are more mobile due to improving wheelchair engineering, and those who are housebound can still enjoy playing cards or board games, painting, sewing, reading or surfing the Internet.
The Paralympic Games for men and women with a disability have been in existence for more than a hundred years, and being confined to a wheelchair has not prevented even many elderly athletes from taking up a sport. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association has a huge following, with teams competing from all over the world. Elderly patients can enjoy wheelchair ball games with softer, lighter balls.
Other games suitable for the elderly include simple passing games where light sandbags are thrown to each other. This helps coordination and muscle tone in the arms. Quoits and other target games present similar exercise opportunities. Chairs are placed in a circle with a target in the centre and sandbags thrown to hit the target.
Board Games and Cards
Board games, from chess or draughts, backgammon and Monopoly to Connect Four and Ludo can be played by people who are confined to a chair. Seat all the players so that they have easy access to the game and can reach the dice and counters.
Card games, from Patience, which can be played by a single player, to more complicated games with several players, will keep the mind active even while the body is forced to remain still.
Electronic games like Wii, Nintendo or PlayStation can all be enjoyed by elderly people with limited mobility, and there can other benefits as well: The Third Age reports that studies conducted at Tallaght Hospital by Trinity College, Dublin have shown that playing virtual games has proved as useful for elderly patients with mobility problems as some forms of conventional physiotherapy.
Surfing the Internet is an effective way for the housebound elderly to keep in touch with the wider world, whether it's keeping up with news and current events, e-mailing with family and friends or indulging in hobbies; they can also connect with others through online chats and games.
Painting, sketching, sewing, tapestry and other artistic pursuits can be carried out by those confined to a chair. Make sure the chair is in a well-lit position and keep all the essentials at hand. A wheeled trolley that can be raised or lowered is ideal for keeping the required materials within easy reach and can be moved to give more room when required.
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