A dementia diagnosis is not easy news to receive, but it is important to stay positive. One way to add a bit of joy to anyone’s day is to simply play a game. And did you know that some games can improve short-term cognition for seniors experiencing memory loss? In fact, there are plenty of games for seniors with dementia. If you or a loved one struggles with this type of memory loss, grab a few snacks and perhaps a deck of cards. A lot of laughter and quality time are sure to ensue.
Games for Seniors with Dementia
Since bingo is a crowd favorite, you might not need a convincing reason to play! You may be pleasantly surprised, however, to find out that this game has plenty of benefits. Although there aren’t many studies showing a correlation between bingo and its impact on dementia, research has shown that it provides therapeutic mental stimulation for people with cognitive disorders in general. In one study, participants experiencing memory loss who played bingo had higher measures of cognition than participants who did not play. This game is relatively easy, so it is ideal for those who are in the early or middle stages of dementia.
Any board game that challenges the brain can provide a healthy mental exercise for those with dementia. As an added bonus, childhood favorites like checkers, Scrabble, or Clue might even spark some nostalgia and bring good memories to mind. Try to choose familiar games with few rules, because complex board games could cause confusion and frustration. However, those in the earlier stages of dementia can benefit from playing games that involve strategy, like chess and Risk.
It’s amazing how many different games you can play with a traditional deck of cards, from Rummy and Hearts to Bridge and Poker. Pick a game that poses a low to moderate level of difficulty. And if holding cards has become a challenge, you can purchase a cardholder. You can also play a memory game with a deck of cards by laying out the 52 cards in four equal rows. Take turns flipping over two cards to try to find pairs of the same rank and color, such as a five of diamonds and a five of hearts. Or, choose a card set that is designed specifically as a memory game.
Once the weather warms up, take advantage of sunny days by playing some games outdoors. For example, do you enjoy horseshoes (or washers), beanbag tosses, frisbee, croquet, or shuffleboard? In addition to the benefits of physical exercise, these activities can provide stress relief, emotional connections, and engagement with the natural world. You could also participate in a friendly birdwatching competition, play “I Spy,” or create a scavenger hunt.
Playing games can be a great way to cope with dementia and improve day-to-day memory capabilities. There are many games for seniors with dementia to choose from, but stick to two or three favorites to avoid confusion.
If you are looking for a place to retire that specializes in memory care activities, consider a move to the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Waterstone on Augusta is a premier assisted living and memory care community that offers a cozy setting and an enriching lifestyle for seniors. Our staff works diligently to get to know each resident and learn their likes and dislikes to create a customized care plan. One aspect that sets Waterstone on Augusta apart is the village-like landscape that provides a unique experience for those who call the community home. Schedule a tour online or give us a call at 864-568-0482.