Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Building blocks, like LEGO, have been associated with children's toys since their introduction in the early 1950s, but these fantastic bricks also have many benefits for adults who are young at heart! More recently, older adults have used Lego bricks as a form of stress relief, as a new hobby/pastime and even as collector items.
Lego offers a variety of builds geared towards almost every age and ability, which makes them perfect for seniors and those with the challenges of Alzheimer's and other Dementia.
Many activities within nursing homes, retirement centres and those we blog about may appear to gear mainly toward women, such as the arts, knitting, and singing. Although some men enjoy those activities, others are less challenged by them. Offering building opportunities for men provides a friendly, more appealing activity.
No matter the gender, Lego and other building block products (such as Mega Bloks, Duplo, and simple wooden blocks) assist with focus, coordination, and developing or maintaining fine motor skills. These benefits can significantly improve the quality of life for the elderly in our care and socialize them with other residents and family members.
Keeping in mind that the original Lego bricks were explicitly designed with smaller hands in mind, there is a variety of medium, and larger-sized bricks offered that can provide fun, quality time, and even cognitive learning (such as with sorting by colour, size, and shape). Other products like Mega Bloks and Lego's Duplo series, although more "child-like" in nature, can also serve as tools for building, sorting, and stacking. They are larger in size, colourful, and can assist those with acceptable motor limitations, such as arthritis, etc. where holding and gripping may be limited.
Before using building blocks with the elderly in your care, consider their cognitive needs, interests and physical limitations. Using blocks, you may have at home or purchasing a bin of loose bricks, sort through them to find appropriate ones in size, colour, and function. Bricks or blocks that are too small or too narrow may not be helpful, so opt for medium or larger-sized pieces that are easy to grip, stack together (if necessary), and that are light in weight to ensure safety and injury-free tasks.
If choosing to do a Lego build, such as their architecture or classic car series, remember that the instructions are printed relatively small and may be too long to follow. Consider your options if selecting a design set. It must appeal to them and allow them the independence and ability to build without frustration and anxiety. For simple builds with instructions, you may copy the instructions in a giant print or use images instead of words to aid in the building task. Working with others is also a great way to build! Someone can be the Reader/Engineer, a Parts Manager/Supplier, and of course Builder! Make it fun and cooperative!
At Ideal Caregivers 4u, our mission is to deliver consistent care services that exceed industry standards and empower home care providers to provide superior care while improving our client's quality of life and peace of mind for their families.
"Improving the quality of life for our clients since 1998 while providing peace of mind to their families."
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