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The Life of Leisure for Those with Limited Mobility

by Ed Dunning

All work and no play can make for a really dull day! Are we right? Even if your day isn’t full of work, not being able to enjoy regular leisure activities can have a bigger negative impact than most people realize. The work to play ratio becomes rapidly evident when something goes wrong with our health or relationships. This is especially true for people who suffer from some form of limited mobility which does not allow them to enjoy the simple games and activities that bring so much pleasure to everyday life.

There really is no arguing against the benefits of leisure activities in our day to day lives. The major benefits of just taking time to relax and have some fun are so apparent they almost seem silly to mention, but just in case you aren’t aware we will fill you in on a quick few. For starters, entertainment and leisure activities relieve stress and reduce tension creating a healthier and often longer life span. There are endless social benefits to getting involved in leisure and gaming activities where social interaction is required, encouraged and enjoyed. And more specifically, all of the previously mentioned benefits go the extra mile in maintaining the mental attitude and social inclusion that often affects people with limited mobility and other disabilities.

We keep saying other disabilities without explaining, so here is an example. Consider an individual who suffers from low vision or is in the beginning stages of macular degeneration. A friendly crossword puzzle, a favorite newspaper or even a treasured book are often out of reach for people with low vision capabilities. Oftentimes these activities were enjoyed in earlier years. Simple items like Round LED lighted magnifiers can make the action of reading a leisurely pleasure once again.

Playing cards is another favorite pastime that expels stress and increases social interaction, but for a person with either limited vision or limited mobility a round of Texas Hold ‘em quickly becomes a game of fold ‘em. Playing cards is an especially common activity with seniors whose limited vision and hand mobility can create problems. Simple aides like playing card holders can take the pain out of holding cards and the holders often come in both plastic and wood. Also available for individuals with low vision from cataracts or simply declining vision would find LOVision playing cards and really big playing cards to be a great way to stay in the game.

What a person considers a leisure activity depends, well, on the individual, but writing cards, letters and even being able to complete that treasured crossword can truly be a release as well as a means for staying in touch with a world that people living with disabilities can often feel separated from. There are now aides available to make writing easier too. From the writing bird which can be used by individuals who are unable to hold a pen at all to the textured Lite Touch pen , there are ways to write even with the non-nimblest fingers. The Steady Write is a popular option for individuals whose hands tire easily after holding a pen or pencil for a short length of time.

As caregivers and loved ones of people living with disabilities, limited mobility and poor vision, we are constantly aware of their physical struggles in daily activities, but we often overlook the need to keep leisure activities alive as well. From good health to strong social interactions leisure activities can keep the mental health of challenged lives in good shape. Even adding a gas cap turner and key turner to a vehicle can extend the independent living style of a senior, so add aides to the life of your loved one or patient and you will add years of leisure and all its benefits to their life.

This article was published on Monday 14 February, 2011.
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