We all have fun things we like to do: hobbies, sports, artistic endeavors, or other leisure activities.
With all of the challenges and tasks involved in living with ALS, it’s important to also keep doing those things that you enjoy. Although it’s true that ALS can make many leisure activities more difficult—or even seemingly impossible—there are ways you can adapt and still get enjoyment out of the things you love.
As the effects of ALS make movement more difficult, you’ll likely need help with the physical aspects of your favorite leisure activities. Thankfully, just like there is assistive equipment and technology that can help with your everyday chores, there are assistive devices and modifications that can help you take part in the fun activities you enjoy. For example, if you like to fish, there are automatic casters and reelers available, and ramps can be built to provide easier access to your boat or dock. There is assistive equipment for many different leisure activities- far too many to try listing them all here. To learn what might be available for your favorite hobbies or sports, contact your ALS Care Services Manager.
Even with assistive equipment, some physical activities will eventually become too difficult, or may seem to be more trouble than they are worth. At that point, you’ll need to make adjustments to the activity itself.
For starters, think about why you enjoy your favorite leisure activities. What is it about the activity that you love? There are often core aspects of a leisure activity that you can continue to enjoy. For example, an avid hiker might enjoy hiking largely because it allows them to experience the beauty, peace, and quiet of the outdoors. Even if you are no longer able to hike, you can still get outdoors and experience those things. Or, if you love playing a particular sport, it might be because you are competitive by nature and like the challenge of beating someone else at a game. Other, less physical games could allow you to still experience those competitive thrills.
Technology can again be helpful when making this transition. If you love to travel, you can virtually visit attractions all over the world through online photos, videos, travel blogs, or television shows. If you love books but can’t physically turn the pages, audio books can do the reading for you. Instead of playing sports, you can watch sports on TV, play fantasy sports with friends, or play virtually through video games.
And don’t be afraid to try new things; you might find a new favorite leisure activity.