Great OT idea – removing bean husks
This sounds simple. It is. Today I had dinner at my neighbor's and there was a lima bean fiasco, long story. So after dinner, Marianne and I took the bowl of lima beans that had been soaking for a few hours, and started slipping off the shells (husks?) of each one individually. Most of them came off with no trouble and the few that didn't we left on to be dealt with later. Ideally they'd be soaking for more hours. It was a calming, soothing, repetitive activity that would be GREAT to use in OT – just buy some inexpensive dried lima or butter beans or any beans that require shelling, soak for a few hours, then have your patient start slipping them off. 🙂 It would be a good one for fine motor skills and probably could be modified for other ways too. Maybe even good for a TBI patient to work on focus. Hmm. Also, it might be something that adult day care centers (ie for Alzheimers) could consider using as a way to keep idle hands busy. Many older women with dementia really dislike sitting in a center having “leisure” – they want to be doing something or helping. Often times the centers will give them fresh warm towels from the dryer to fold (and then repeat throughout day with freshly dried load), or similar easy tasks. Sometimes its hard to figure out tasks the patients can do to “help” that is simple enough and safe. Like one time (while I was there as a volunteer), I deliberately mismatched a bunch of colored pipe cleaners and had a patient who wanted attention/something to do, sort them into piles by color, as a favor to me. She thought she was helping and was content. We sat together for a long time, quietly talking and sorting the pipe cleaners. I guess you could potentially use that in low-level treatment somehow but really it might just be the kind of thing an OT could recommend to their facility as a calming method – just have to be careful about safety in the sense of A) they are putting their hands into water so you don't want them to get water everywhere as a fall hazard, so maybe supervision and/or towels; B) you don't want them to put it into their mouth and choke….so make sure pt is appropriate for this task.
PS – this is something I just remembered. Kinda random. The alzheimers day center used poker chips for their Bingo coverage, and they were many different colors. I can't tell you how many times people asked me if the colors mattered. It was confusing for them. I felt like it was an unnecessary confusion and that while using poker chips was nice from a fine motor/visual perspective, it would ahve been helpful to have them all be one bright color. (Sorting poker chips would be good activity too).
SO ANYWAY – inexpensive dried beans. Potentially a good OT tool. If anyone has other ideas they want to contribute along this same line, and/or have some reason I haven't thought of as to why this is NOT an okay idea…please share. As always use these ideas at your own risk!!