Barry was always very active throughout his life but when an accident landed him in a wheelchair permanently, things changed. For many years Barry spent most days in his home living a very sedentary and isolated life. Sadly, in that time, his mental and physical health began to decline. Thankfully, his daughter Elsa noticed and made it her mission to help him find his spark once again.
After spending a few days online searching activities for adults with disabilities in the Bay Area where they lived, Elsa sat down with Barry to show him what she’d found. It turns out that there is a wide variety of programs, activities, and organizations that Barry could get involved with to help him regain his health and live a more active, rich, and sociable life. Within a few weeks, Barry began trying out a few different activities and noticed a great improvement in his physical and mental well-being.
If your loved one has a disability and is looking to be more active in the community, there is a plethora fun activities for disabled adults in the Bay Area to check out. Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite organizations in the Bay Area that run incredible programs for adults with disabilities so that your loved one can get out and try something new and exciting this spring.
The Best Bay Area Organizations for Adults with Disabilities
Perhaps your aging loved one was an avid basketball player when they were younger, or maybe they’ve always wanted to try sailing. Whether they want to get involved in an activity that once brought them joy and fulfillment or they dream about finding a new sport or hobby to try, the programs offered by the organizations below are accessible and adaptable for adults of many different abilities.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite Bay Area organizations for adults with disabilities:
- Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors: This wonderful organization aims to make sailing accessible to all, so if your loved one loves being out on the open ocean be sure to check out the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors. They offer weekly small boat and keelboat sailing programs out of the South Beach Marina and have adaptive boats suitable for people with a variety of disabilities. The best part is that their programs are available to both experienced sailors and those who have never sailed before, so it’s never too late for your loved one to learn a new skill and build confidence in themselves.
- Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program: If your loved one loves sports, be sure to check out the Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program. With innovative programs like seated Tai Chi, their mission is to enhance the lives of people with physical disabilities through recreation and sport. Special programs for veterans are also offered and include activities like Adaptive Cycling and Wheelchair Basketball. Be sure to check out their fitness studio in Berkeley which has a variety of fun adaptable classes for people with various ability levels. The group setting makes it a great place to meet new friends!
- The YMCA of San Francisco: If your loved one loves to swim, the YMCA of San Francisco offers some great aquafit classes, from Aqua Basic to Aqua Zumba, that can accommodate people with a variety of abilities. They offer a sliding scale membership fee, which means that cost doesn’t have to get in the way of your loved one being active. Working out in the water can help your loved one increase their strength and cardiovascular health while taking pressure off of joints—it has also been shown to have mood-boosting effects.
- The Connected Horse: If your loved one is suffering from dementia, The Connected Horse offers equine guided workshops (non-riding) for individuals and their care partners to partake in together. Animal therapy has been shown to be incredibly powerful at reducing stress, building self-confidence, increasing self-awareness, and creating a sense of social responsibility.
- Institute on Aging: If your loved one is interested in getting out of the house daily for activities, Institute on Aging offers a Social Day Program that supports aging adults living with social and cognitive challenges. Participants in the program receive transportation to and from the center where they engage in stimulating activities like group exercise and artistic and creative endeavors. Fresh, healthy meals and personalized daily care are also provided.
Of course, your loved one doesn’t have to enroll in an organized activity or program in order to stay active and try something new. There are plenty of great senior activity ideas you can do with your loved one this spring, like going for walks in the park to watch the flowers bloom, trying new recipes together, or even visiting the farmers market. The important thing is that they are engaged and having fun.
The Many Benefits of Activities for Adults with Disabilities
What’s great about all of the programs and activities offered by the above organizations is that they will get your loved one out of their home and encourage them not only to move their bodies but also to socialize with others. Together, the physical and mental stimulation can do wonders for your loved one’s overall well-being. Staying active, physically, mentally, and socially, while aging has a whole host of benefits, including:
- Improved sleep
- Greater energy
- Reduced stress
- Increased physical strength and stamina
- A greater sense of community and belonging
After trying out a few different activities, Barry decided to take up sailing with the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors. He committed to going once weekly and would look forward to his time on the water all week long. For him, it was extremely therapeutic. Sailing made him feel more free and capable than he ever had before—his disability didn’t hold him back after all.