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Please help me brainstorm activity ideas for my injured dad

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I think I can posted 6/4/2013 14:54 PM

My 70 yr old dad just hurt his shoulder and maybe spine in an accident, has to have surgery, and now can't fish or play golf all summer. He's an active guy--a "doer" and this is going to drive him crazy, plus the "facing mortality" aspect of the whole thing.

I could really use some ideas of big or little activities he could do. He likes to make things. He spends most of the winter in his woodshop. He does have money, so don't let that limit your suggestions.

Thanks so much. This is going to be really hard on him.

nowiknow23 posted 6/4/2013 14:57 PM

What are his specific limitations?

notmeanymore posted 6/4/2013 15:09 PM

My Dad is in his early 80's and has gotten into painting pictures and making his own frames (cutting/staining the wood).

Not sure if he could try that?

nowiknow23 posted 6/4/2013 15:20 PM

Any interest in photography? Genealogy?

My dad is an engineer - a problem solver at heart, and he came alive when he picked up genealogy while he was recovering from double-hip replacement. He said it was the best puzzle he ever tried to solve. There's a wealth of information online, and it's fairly easy to get started.

I think I can posted 6/4/2013 15:33 PM

It's rotator cuff surgery--I don't really know how bad at this time. His dominant hand, of course. He was thrown from a horse. Possible spine compression--no surgery just rest for 6 weeks.

So I'm thinking shuffling around and he'll be able to do simple hand stuff, but not pressure or swinging or pulling for a long while.

Maybe small wood stuff like frames, thanks notmeanymore. And I'll ask about the photography and geneology--he does like to learn how to do new things. He is an engineer too!

Maybe he could take pictures of the activities he can't do right now......

He's also into astronomy and history......

lost_in_toronto posted 6/4/2013 15:42 PM

My dad always does cross stitch when he is convalescing. It keeps him busy and he can do it for short periods of time when he is in pain or tired. Maybe your dad could try something like that if his injury allow for it?

nowiknow23 posted 6/4/2013 15:53 PM

He is an engineer too!

Bigger posted 6/4/2013 17:57 PM

What sort of fishing does he do?
If itís fly-fishing then fly-tying is an ideal hobby. Itís relatively simple to start tying easy flies, not overtly expensive (start-up can be from 50 bucks, a good startup 100-150).
If heís really good with his hands then rod-building. Thatís where he buys a blank and builds the rod.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 6/4/2013 18:03 PM

My H had rotator cuff surgery. It is PAINFUL and the recovery LONG. He had his surgery in the winter and had zero interest in doing much of anything. Heck the PT and home exercises will keep him busy!

My H did get seasons of shows on DVD from Netflix and the library...

Is your dad a reader? Computer literate? Would a tablet with OK internet access be appealing? Ebooks? Apps/games?

Kajem posted 6/4/2013 19:31 PM

If history is his hobby, geneology is a very good activity. There are usually groups of interested people who meet at the library or local historical society to compare notes, help with town research... etc.

Good luck.... It is so hard to keep busy when your laid up...

purplejacket4 posted 6/4/2013 20:04 PM

Wow! My Dad's a retired engineer also. Weird.

Is there any volunteer work he could do? Visiting shut ins, meals on wheels, etc. My dad has been teaching prisoners in his retirement.

I think I can posted 6/4/2013 21:10 PM

Bigger, he does fly fish--that's great!! He could totally tie ties. I can see him doing that. I'll find an introductory kit...rod building too. He makes duck calls already.

lost-in-toronto--I was thinking about knitting. Cross stitch also would work.

Lucky2haveme-thanks for the info on recovery. It sucks cause he had several big things he was planning on this summer. He is a computer guy--I got him a cheap 3d printer for his birthday and he's been noodling around with that.

purple he's not really a volunteer--kind of either a loner or a orderer-arounder

Thanks all of you--very helpful!!

Sad in AZ posted 6/4/2013 21:23 PM

Knitting might be too much for the rotator cuff unless he learns continental style. Cross stitch might also be too much.

Fly tying sounds great. How about woodburning too?

Good luck!

Dreamboat posted 6/4/2013 21:48 PM

My Dad was also into woodworking and he made a few small book display racks for the local library Similar to this but not as fancy (no rounded edge or fancy insert) (I should also mention that the librarians loved him because of this :),or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47380653,d.aWM&fp=47366c0356aa7522&biw=1440&bih=797&facrc=_&

That may be beyond what your father can do with his injury, I don't know.

He also used to volunteer at the senior center and consult and do taxes for the seniors. I know tax season is over, but there may be some other things at the senior center (or library) that you Dad could help with. Something that will allow him to use his analytical brain and feel useful. Or he may be able to find another activity that he enjoys, like cards. Most communities have a senior center.

Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or jigsaw puzzles may keep him busy during his early convalescence. Others have mentioned genealogy.

Swimming is a physical activity that is low stress to the joints. He can ask his physical therapist about other physical activities that he can do.


dazdandconfuzed posted 6/5/2013 08:47 AM

He was thrown from a horse. Possible spine compression--no surgery just rest for 6 weeks

Never had shoulder surgery although I hear it can be pretty brutal. But I have been thrown from a horse and had a compression fracture of the spine. How recent was his accident? Are the xrays inconclusive - is that why you say possible? Cuz I have to tell you - the only hobby I had for about 2 months after was pain management. The only way I was able to talk around my nurse case manager's suggestion that I go to a rehab hospital once I was release from the "regular" hospital was agreeing to have a visiting physical therapist come to the house 3x per week.

It sounds like your dad's spinal involvment might not be as severe as mine - but I don't know if I'd worry too much about activities just yet, but maybe things he can do with extremely limited movement and maybe high as a kite (pain meds, lol!). For example I have a kindle fire that I can wirelessly download movies to and it can come with me into the bedroom or the couch or chair if I have to move around. Maybe a netflix subscription for some old movies or something? Once he's up and around again, just taking a walk can be exhausting but actually can help manage the back pain (hurts less if you get up and walk as often as possible).

Send your dad lots of healing mojo.

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