Not only are board games fun, but they are also one of the best memory-boosting activities for seniors. Playing board games can keep your loved ones mentally agile and be extremely entertaining at the same time. With that said, not all games are suitable for patients with dementia. Here are some games you should avoid:
- Cognitively complex games: As cognitive function declines in those with dementia, complicated games of strategy can be tiring and confusing for them.
- Games with small print: Vision typically declines with age. Your loved ones may have trouble reading letters that are too minute.
- Games that last longer than half an hour: Attention span decreases as dementia progresses. Your loved ones may have difficulty focusing for more than 30 minutes.
- Games that are physically demanding: Tabletop games requiring a little movement are fine and can be good exercise, but games entailing excessive action can cause your loved ones unnecessary stress and can come with the added risk of injury.
So which board games are suitable? Here are five recommended board games for dementia patients.
Uno involves brightly colored cards with large numbers. It is suitable for seniors with poor eyesight. Also, as it is a fun and relatively simple game, your loved ones will be able to play and enjoy themselves.
Tic-tac-toe is a relatively simple but interesting game for your loved ones. You can even adjust the level of difficulty for this game by increasing the number of rows and columns in the grid. Remember to draw the grid large enough so that your loved ones can easily see it. To make things even clearer for them, you can purchase the tabletop version of the game.
Scrabble encourages your loved ones to exercise their memory to recall words to use. It also comes with the added benefit of enriching their vocabulary. In addition, it can improve their ability to focus. Scrabble is suitable for seniors who are in the early stages of dementia. However, dementia can cause changes to the brain’s temporal lobe, affecting the ability to process language. Therefore, it is not advisable to play this game with those who are in the later stages of dementia, as they may find the game extremely challenging. Also, to shorten the game time, you can use a smaller board or set a point limit to signify the end of the game.
This classic game can be played by up to eight players and involves buying properties and developing them to collect rent. The objective of the game is to bankrupt all the other players. This game is not only mentally stimulating but has the added benefit of encouraging social interaction among players. To win the game, one must communicate with other players to make deals with them or request rent payments. Navigating the dichotomy of cooperation and competition will make the game both cognitively and socially exciting for your loved ones.
Bingo is a classic game that everyone is familiar with. It requires the use of memory and intelligence yet is not so cognitively demanding that your loved ones with dementia won’t be able to keep up.
Board games are excellent activities for patients with dementia to enhance their memory and thinking abilities. Furthermore, they can be mediums for encouraging communication. Socialization is important for all elderly, especially those with dementia. Here at Mariposa, our team organizes various activities for seniors with dementia such that they can feel fulfilled and energized.