Every day, our environment is designed for hands and fingers that need strength, flexibility, and touch to lift, turn, push, pull, grasp, twist, manipulate, tap, and hold items. It is critical to keep your manual dexterity as you age. As you become older, you may find that your hands and fingers lose some of their talents. There are several reasons for why this can happen and several things a senior can do to maintain what dexterity they do have.
Understanding Aging Hands
Manual dexterity seems to be steady for many people until about the age of 65. Sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle mass,
is one of the most prevalent alterations throughout the body. This results in a decrease of grip strength in the hands and forearms, which is directly connected to hand dexterity. The tensile strength (the greatest force that a structure can withstand) of the tendons in hands, which connect muscle to bone, diminishes by 30 to 50% with age.
Hands and fingers of seniors are particularly vulnerable to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This causes discomfort, swelling, joint abnormalities, bone spur development, reduced wrist and finger ranges of motion, and the ability to grasp and squeeze items. Furthermore, around the age of 50, the bone density of the hand begins to diminish, resulting in a loss of manual dexterity. See your doctor if you believe you are suffering from one or more of these illnesses.
There are, however, exercises and activities you may do to maintain or even improve the health and function of your hands and fingers. If your senior needs help with a routine that includes the tips below, it is time to find personal care at home to help them. These professionals will not only help encourage stretching and workouts but will help them get ready for the day. If a senior’s hands hurt, they may be unable to get dressed, undress, and even do things like cooking. Personal care at home can help them with these tasks but also encourage them to exercise and maintain what dexterity they do have.
- Boards with latches and locks These activity boards are outfitted with a variety of ordinary items such as chain bolts, sliding bolts, padlocks with keys, buckles, faucet handles, and switches, all of which require motor skills, finger dexterity, and eye-hand coordination to manage.
- Make use of clay or putty. Squeeze and roll clay or hand-therapy putty back and forth with each hand. Pinch the putty together with your thumbs and forefingers. Fold it into various shapes; the resistance of clay or putty strengthens your fingers and hands.
- Form a fist. Form a fist and squeeze inwards. Hold for five seconds before gently releasing. Repeat the process with each hand until you feel exhausted to build hand strength and dexterity.
- Give the thumbs up. Begin by raising your hand and straightening it (as if you were about to shake someone’s hand). Touch your thumb to your index fingertip to form an “O” shape. Then, bring your thumb up to your middle fingertip. Continue this movement with the rest of your fingers. Repeat many times, then move to the opposing hand and repeat.
- Experiment with finger lifts. Place your hand palm-side down on a table. Lift your thumb carefully away from the table and keep it there for two seconds. Return your thumb to its original position. Repeat for each finger, and after switch to the opposing hand.
- Experiment with thumb bends. Begin by raising one hand, fingers straightened. Bend your thumb downward and toward your palm. The aim is to reach for the tip of your pinky finger (don’t worry if you can’t). Return to the starting position after holding the bend for a few seconds. Rep many times, then move to the other hand.
- Stretch your wrists. Extend your right arm, palm towards the floor. Bend your wrist and point your fingers downward. Gently bend your left wrist toward you until you feel a mild to moderate strain in your forearm. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds, then transfer to your left arm and repeat two to four times.
- Sew. Sewing requires highly precise motions and the grabbing and manipulation of tiny things. This is an excellent manual dexterity exercise.
- Have fun with origami. Fold paper is the literal translation of the Japanese term “origami.” There are several forms of origami and numerous books and online directions for mastering this pastime that require both the mind and hands to create beautiful creations.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Personal Care at Home in Bolton, CT please contact the caring staff at Happy Home Care LLC today. (860) 709-1072