St. Patrick’s Day is steeped in time-honored traditions such as watching parades, wearing green, and eating corned beef and cabbage. Engaging in fun and healthy activities can boost your loved one’s health and wellbeing and enhance his or her quality of life.
Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Grand Rapids, MI, elderly care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.
Here are 5 engaging ways to spend St. Patrick’s Day, along with their benefits for your loved one.
1. Make a Shamrock Pin
Making crafts is an ideal way to entertain seniors. In the process, their brain cells activate and hand-eye coordination increases. Completing a project sustains the motivation to be productive.
In this activity, the color and texture of the felt are stimulating. Painting the pin unleashes creativity. The finished product imparts the pride of accomplishment. For this project, you’ll need:
- Green felt
- Pin backs
- Fabric and paper glue
- Paint markers
Using a shamrock template, your loved one can draw two shamrock shapes on the felt, then cut them out. With the paint markers, he or she can dress one shamrock surface with designs, then glue the two shamrocks together, giving the pin strength and durability. Finally, your loved one can glue a pin to the back side of the felt and allow to dry.
2. Play St. Patrick’s Day Bingo
Two studies cite several benefits for seniors playing Bingo. One was conducted in 2012, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Researchers observed that high contrast, large cards boosted cognitive health in people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
With age, people lose the ability to distinguish contrast. This condition worsens with the onset of dementia. In this Bingo study, large images with sharpening contrast boosted playing performance of adults with dementia.
Scientists then applied this finding to daily life. By contrasting furniture colors, they found people moved more safely through their homes. The model used was a black couch in a white room. Eating was also made easier when they placed food on a white plate against a dark tablecloth.
Another Bingo study was performed in 2002 at England’s Southampton University. The game was found to enhance short-term memory and concentration. Bingo players showed faster and more accurate mental speed, processing, and memory than non-players.
3. Complete a St. Paddy Word Scramble Puzzle
Word puzzles have several merits for seniors. First, they’re great fun and ward off boredom. Secondly, brain exercise helps stave off dementia. When the mind is challenged, brain cells develop and grow, sharpening cognitive function. Word puzzles also increase vocabulary, language, and spelling skills.
Following is an example, rated “medium difficulty.” Print up this page, cutting off the answer key with scissors, then present the scrambled words to your loved one. After your loved one has given his or her best effort, congratulate him or her with a prize.
4. Compete in a Lucky Coin Toss game
Livestrong reports that “tossing games” render light cardiovascular activity. They also enhance joint flexibility, upper body muscle strength, and hand-eye coordination.
For this contest, you’ll need a green hula hoop, paper shamrock, and a supply of quarters. Alternatively, for those whose diets allow, use foil-wrapped dark chocolate coins.
Conduct this activity as a group. Place the hula hoop in the middle of the floor, with the shamrock in the center. Mark a throw line with a horizontal object such as a cane or tape measure. Give each player three quarters or chocolate coins to toss. Everyone takes a turn, pitching their coins from the throw line into the hula hoop, aiming for the shamrock.
Each person to land a coin on the clover receives a prize. Examples of prizes you can award are perfume, aftershave, cologne, hand lotion, lip balm, costume jewelry, lap blankets, and shawls.
5. Share a “Shamrock Pat on the Back”
Compliments can help your loved one feel appreciated. Being valued and esteemed is vital for seniors. Poor self-regard can ensue through the loss of health, loved ones, possessions, mobility, and abilities. Receiving praise reinforces senior self-worth. This activity will uplift everyone’s spirits.
Gather friends and family around a table and pass out pens. Have enough paper shamrocks cut out for all your participants. For each shamrock, write the name of a person present, fold the papers in half, and place them in a green hat.
Each participant takes a shamrock from the hat. Then, for the person indicated on the paper, they write a compliment on the opposite side. Next, collect the shamrocks and distribute them. Each recipient reads their compliments aloud and tapes the shamrocks onto the recipients’ backs. At the end of the day, all will have a keepsake of their “pat on the back.”
If you’re planning fun activities for your senior loved one, you may need to take a break from your caregiving duties. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Grand Rapids families can rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Grand Rapids, MI, 24-hour care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors. Call us today at 616-243-0835 to create a customized care plan for your aging loved one.