People with developmental disabilities sometimes have difficulty getting around. However, it’s important that they remain physically active and engaged for both their physical and mental health. Playing games and engaging in activities that catch their interest can be a perfect way to disguise occupational and physical therapy activities.
Adult day centers offer a wide selection of recreation activities, educational programming, and supportive services. Many day program activities for adults with developmental disabilities can be set up at home as well. So, even if you can’t make it to our adult day center, there are still ways to engage, entertain, and enrich your loved one’s day. Just make sure they have the proper care and supervision while engaging in these activities.
Keep reading to learn more about day program activities for adults with developmental disabilities.
Physical Activities for Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Everyone needs to move around, engage their muscles, and get the blood pumping! Just like anyone else, people with developmental disabilities benefit greatly from regular aerobic activities. These activities also give them a chance to improve their hand-eye coordination and spatial relations.
Walking and Hiking
If your loved one is able to walk, walking and hiking are excellent for both physical and social interaction. Check out your local parks for information about trails and walking paths. Many places have paved paths that make it much easier to get around while still immersing you in nature. Some places even have handicap-accessible paths for people in wheelchairs. Just make sure you inspect the area first to ensure that the patch is in good shape!
Want to avoid the hassle of transportation? Even a walk through the neighborhood can be extremely beneficial. To keep it from becoming repetitive, consider playing games like “I-Spy”. Or you can turn the walk into a little scavenger hunt — whoever finds a yellow leaf first wins!
Walking and hiking engage the muscles, improve circulation, and improve hand-eye coordination. They also provide all the benefits that come with being outside. Being in nature has been proven to lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Building Muscle and Flexibility
To stay in shape and prevent muscle atrophy, it’s important to do activities that engage all the major muscle groups. For adults with disabilities like cerebral palsy, this can be difficult. But there are always options that are both fun and healthy.
If they’re interested in traditional “working out,” resistance bands and weights are an excellent way to improve muscle strength and keep them fit. If that type of activity doesn’t sound appealing, there are other ways to sneak in a workout.
Yoga is an excellent source of exercise that provides both strength and flexibility, and it only uses the weight of your own body so there are no extra implements required. Many classes and videos offer modifications for their workouts as well, so even if they can’t complete the moves exactly as shown they may be able to get the same benefits with the help of blocks, straps, or while sitting in a chair.
Swimming is also a perfect exercise for older adults and those with limited mobility. The resistance of the water builds muscle while also taking pressure off of the joints.
Cognitive Exercises and Activities
Engaging the mind is important to help improve focus, memory, and cognitive function. Adult day programs often use activities like these to engage and enrich their clients.
Arts and Crafts
Just like anyone else, engaging in artistic activities allows people with developmental disabilities to express themselves and be creative. This can be especially therapeutic for those who are unable or unwilling to communicate verbally. It also creates a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, which is important for our mental well-being as humans.
It’s not just creating art that can be stimulating. Looking at art and discussing it can foster conversation and spark social interaction. Try going to a museum or looking through an art book together and discussing the pieces. What do they like or dislike? Why? Engaging with art is an emotional and intellectual experience that engages both sides of the brain.
There are so many arts and crafts activities that you can do with adults with disabilities, and all at varying levels of difficulty and mobility. Often, it’s enough to supply paper, crayons, markers, and paint and set them loose. But you can also do more directed crafts like finger painting or making paperweights (painting rocks).
Choose a craft that complements your loved one’s level of mobility and interest. To make it a social event, get family members and friends involved as well! After all, talking about your piece as you make it and showing it off afterward are half the fun.
Music and Dancing
Music is one of our most ancient traditions as humans. Pretty much everyone can appreciate and enjoy music of some kind or another. Listening to music engages multiple parts of the brain in the memory, mathematical, and pleasure centers. Music therapy has been shown to improve memory, focus, and cognitive function. Things are easier to remember when they’re put into song. And certain songs are indelibly tied to specific moments in our lives.
Music can also be an excellent way to encourage physical exercise. Many people with developmental disabilities can dance. Even if they can’t they can most likely clap or at least sway along to the music.
Day Programs for Adults in Little Rock
If you’re looking for day program activities for adults with developmental disabilities, Integrity, Inc. can help. For over 30 years, we’ve provided community-based services for adults with developmental disabilities in Little Rock. We provide day programs for adults with developmental disabilities of all kinds. Contact us for more information.