Seniors suffering from dementia are able to continue enjoying activities, games and puzzles to encourage healthy mental and tactile stimulation. An added benefit of continuing to play these games is including other family members and friends to join together for fun and socialization.
Local organizations in Westchester and Fairfield Counties have recognized the value of games for seniors and started group activities such as Brain Fitness at the JCC of Stamford, CT:
Below are a few of our recommended favorite products which have been created or enhanced for enjoyment by seniors.
Extra Large Scrabble
On April 13, you most likely did not notice that it was National Scrabble Day on your calendar. The day is dedicated to the inventor of the much beloved word game, Alfred Butts, who was born in Westchester County. While the smaller Scrabble game may prove challenging to seniors with poor eyesight or poor hand coordination, a larger version is now available with a large board that rotates for easy viewing and the tiles are easier to see and grasp as they are 50% larger. If you have an elderly loved one with Parkinson’s or tremors, this board secures the tiles with raised edges. Link here to purchase the Giant Scrabble Board Game.
Solving crossword puzzles or other kinds of puzzles is more than a fun hobby; it stimulates the brain to promote several different types of mental abilities, including memory, logical-thinking, and problem-solving. While your loved one may have been able to tackle the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle years ago, it may be time to purchase an easy-to-solve large print version available online such as Crossword Puzzles for Seniors in Large Print .
While those who are in the early stages of dementia may benefit from a 48-piece puzzle, those in more advanced stages may benefit from a simple four-piece puzzle. There are also puzzles available with sound that make additional cognitive stimulation.
Playable ART uses the same type of skills used in coloring books, puzzles and memory games but provides a sense of stress relief for hand fidgeting. This adult toy comes with 20 multi-color interconnected spheres that can be scrunched, turned and twisted into endless creative shapes. It challenges the brain and aids in hand dexterity. Link here for a video on how to use the Playable Art.
Water Brush Painting creates magical illustrations appear with vibrant colors. Once dry, the colors disappear to be re-used over and over again.
Many of the above products can be found and purchased at The Alzheimer’s Store which offers great product reviews and detailed guidelines for playing the game within each stage of dementia. For example, the following are directions on how to use the Jumbo Playing Card Game with someone in the varying stages of dementia.
Middle Stage: To play "I Got It" each player is dealt five LARGE size playing cards, face down. Once everyone receives their cards, the instruction to turn over your cards is given and everyone gets to see their hand. The leader then draws from their JUMBO Deck and calls out one card at a time - holding it up for all to see. When a card in your hand is called, you turn it over, face down. The first player to turn over all five called cards is the winner and yells out,"I Got It!”
Middle/Late Stage: Deal only three cards to each player face up. The leader then turns over the top JUMBO card on their deck and players match only the number of the card. When a four is called (for example) and a player has a four in their hand, they turn in over, face down. As soon as anyone matches and turns over all three of their cards, they say, "I Got It!". This becomes a fast-moving, easy-to-understand, very fun game.