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Engaging Games for Seniors with Dementia

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An older woman with glasses sitting at a table and doing a jigsaw puzzle with a cup of tea

Engaging games are more than just entertainment for those with dementia—they stimulate cognitive functions, foster emotional well-being, and encourage social interaction

Games play a vital role in memory care

Everyone enjoys different types of games. However, a good memory care community will have options to cater to residents’ needs and likes while also providing other important services.

Benefits of Games for Dementia

For people with dementia, games can offer a surprising range of benefits. Here are a few reasons why games should be at the heart of memory care.

Cognitive Stimulation

With every card matched and puzzle piece pieced together, games offer a subtle yet powerful exercise for the mind. They encourage focus, memory recall, and flexible thinking, all essential cognitive functions that can become impaired with dementia.

Emotional Well-Being

Playing games can be surprisingly uplifting. Whether solving a puzzle or winning bingo, the fun and sense of accomplishment can boost moods and make even a tough day. It instills a sense of achievement that speaks to the tenants of self-worth.

Social Interaction

Games bring people together in a powerful way. They become a bridge between people, creating shared moments of joy, regardless of their background. This social interaction is important and can improve brain function.

Types of Engaging Games

Keeping things interesting is key when choosing games for our loved ones. Here are some game ideas to add fun and engagement to their lives.

Memory Games

Games that challenge memory are simple and effective at keeping the mind active and improving cognitive function. Memory games include: 

  • Matching games
  • Word scrambles
  • Trivia quizzes

Puzzle Games

Puzzles offer a stimulating challenge that can be both fun and rewarding for those with dementia. Puzzle games include: 

  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Crosswords
  • Sudoku
  • Word searches

Sensory Stimulation Activities

For those whose sensory world is their anchor, the simple feeling of textured objects or the curious sounds of musical games can reignite lost connections. Sensory games are built around different senses and include:

  • Touch: sorting and matching different textures
  • Sound: musical games with simple instruments or soothing sounds
  • Sight: visual puzzles or coloring activities

The Art of Game Selection

Selecting the right game for someone with dementia requires insight, finesse, and an understanding that safety and simplicity are paramount.

Safety First

Each game needs to fit within the context of your loved one’s care plans. Safety precautions must be considered to ensure no games are dangerous, like those that involve sharp or small objects, complex rules, or intense physical activity.

Simple Rules

The beauty of games lies in their structures. For those with dementia, the rules need to be easy to understand. Simplifying instructions is an act of compassion, inviting an inclusive play experience for all.

Personal Preferences

Choose games that cater to your loved one’s interests, strengths, and abilities. This could mean selecting games with familiar themes or activities they have enjoyed in the past. Consider their motor skills and choose games that are appropriate for their current capabilities.

Witness the Impact of Play

Games and play can have a powerful impact on individuals with dementia. Not only does it provide mental stimulation and a sense of accomplishment, but it also allows for social interaction and connection. Seeing your loved one engage in play can bring joy and help maintain their cognitive abilities.

Nurturing the Mind

Games nurture the mind by promoting problem-solving, memory recall, and creativity. These important skills can help individuals with dementia maintain their cognitive abilities for longer. You provide a stimulating and enjoyable activity for your loved one by choosing games that encourage these skills.

Excellence in Care

When play is woven into caregiving, it allows for a more well-rounded and holistic approach to providing care. It can provide a much-needed break from the routine of daily tasks and allow for moments of fun and laughter. 

A group of older adults sitting at a table playing a game of chess in a senior living community

Games Are Gateways to Enriched Lives

Games can be excellent for those with dementia. Laughter replaces barriers, shared successes spark the mind, and in these moments, they aren’t defined by their condition but by their capacity for joy.

Call our team at The Legacy at Long Meadow to book a community tour. We’re happy to show you how our memory care services weave things like engaging play into our residents’ care, resulting in happy, healthy seniors.

Written by LifeWell

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