Leisure activities refresh the body, mind and spirit. They do much more for our health than we realize. This is especially true after a stroke. Doing things you enjoy and connecting with friends can reduce depression and relieve stress. Leisure activity provides structure in your day. It increases independence and improves self-confidence. Our physical and mental abilities improve while we are doing things we enjoy.
Find things to do that you enjoy. An occupational or recreational therapist can help you adapt an activity you love to your current abilities or help you find a new one.
Adapting your activities
Here are ways to adapt some popular activities.
Tools that can help you read include book holders, large-print books and talking books. Electronic readers allow you to control the print size and operate it with one hand.
Card holder stands let you play cards with one hand. Large-faced cards and card shufflers can make a card game easier. You may find it easier to use computer card games and other game apps.
There are many programs and devices that can provide hours of entertainment. Game controllers that can be used with one hand are available.
There are large-piece jigsaw puzzles that are age-appropriate. Special mats can ensure that the pieces do not fall off or get lost. They also make pieces easier to pick up.
Knitting, sewing and needlework
Special devices help you knit with one hand. Frames and clamps can hold your needlework so you can sew with one hand. Other tools include needle threaders and finger grippers so the needle is less likely to slip.
Safety is a very important concern in your workshop. Make sure all power tools have automatic shut-offs and safety catches. Have a family member or friend help you if you need to use an electric saw, drill press or router. Use clamps to hold projects in place so you can drill, carve, sand and paint with one hand.
Physical activity helps you stay healthy and avoid another stroke. Sports such as tennis, golf and swimming are a great way to stay active. Your physiotherapist, occupational therapist and recreational therapist can help you get ready for sports. You may need to start slowly and build the strength and energy you need.
I tee off by driving with one arm, pick up the ball and putt out on the green.
You can adapt the handles of sports equipment to make them easier and more secure to hold.
Where to get support
Recreational and occupational therapists can help you select and adapt activities you enjoy.
There are numerous outdoor and recreational clubs and groups in your community that accommodate physical and mobility issues. Maybe you are interested in sailing, hiking, kayaking, horse riding or travel. Look in seniors and recreational guides or on the internet.
Get tips and inspiration from the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults at activeagingcanada.ca