Using Spirograph to Enhance Fine Motor Skills in the Elderly

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Fine motor skills refer to smaller movements that take place in wrist, hand, finger, foot and toe. These have an essential role in activities such as writing since they coordinate the movements such as picking and holding objects between thumb and fingers. Fine motor skills development is essential for the kids, but this article talks about the development of fine motor skills in the elderly.

Spirograph is an ideal tool to improve the fine motor skills of school going kids, but the tool can equally prove useful for enhancing these skills in the elderly. There are some research studies such as Voelcker-Rehage (2008) which do recognize the possibility of enhancement of motor skills learning in older people. Taking inspiration from such studies, I hereby propose a hypothesis: The use of spirograph on a regular basis is expected to enhance fine motor skills in older people. I did an experiment with my 82 year old grandmother by asking her to use the spirograph to create a graph each day for 8 days. She did show some stability in her finger movements, but the experiment could not be completed for a sustainable time span.

There is a distinct contrast between spirograph drawn by my octogenarian grandmother and a professional spirograph artist (see pictures below). However, considering the fact that continuous practice can enhance outcomes, I recommend spirograph as an effective and economical tool to improve fine motor skills in elderly other than young children. It is for the medical fraternity to explore the utility of this mathematical tool for enhanced outcomes.

Spirograph drawn by a professional

Spirograph drawn by a professional

Spirograph drawn by 82 year old woman

Spirograph drawn by 82 year old woman

Spirograph drawn by 82 year old woman

Spirograph drawn by 82 year old woman

References

Voelcker-Rehage, C. (2008). Motor-skill learning in older adults—a review of studies on age-related differences. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 530. Retrieved from https://eurapa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s11556-008-0030-9

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