It's important for patients living with dementia to keep an active mind and continue to have a sense of fun. Keeping the patient focused on a task or puzzle for an extended period of time helps them engage and enjoy interactions with carers, family or friends - something they may be missing out on. One of the best ways to maintain these meaningful relationships and to keep an active mind is through playing games.
Games to help with dementia often include ones designed for children. They can provide the right level of stimulation for the mind, without being too difficult or frustrating. In this blog, we will run through some of the best dementia games to play with patients that will benefit and improve their quality of life.
When you have read through our recommendations, why not read about exercises we recommend for people with dementia.
Games for Dementia Patients to Avoid
Firstly, we'll talk about what games to avoid with dementia patients. Their game time should run smoothly and be beneficial to your loved one. It's important to get things right.
- Complex games - There are plenty of games where the point is to make even skilled players confused and frustrated. Large board games with many pieces or even Chess are not a good idea for those with dementia.
- Electronic games - There are apps or even simple video games that elderly people would enjoy playing, especially with grandchildren. However, the use of fiddly console controllers or the possibility of technology going wrong (Game crashes or loss of power) can cause unnecessary issues for all parties. We recommend sticking with classic, reliable games.
- Word-based games - Games such as Scrabble can be quite fun early on. However, it's clear that in the later stages of the disease, these types of games can be very taxing.
- Time-based games - Games played with your loved ones shouldn't have too much pressure for anyone to make a move, take a turn, or think about the task at hand. They should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
5 Games for Adults with Dementia
1. Jigsaw Puzzles
So long as you can make sure there are no missing pieces, jigsaw puzzles are always a fun idea. Often you can find smaller sized puzzles that fit neatly with the surface of a small table or even the confines of the box it came in that won't take too long to solve. Jigsaw puzzles come with a great sense of accomplishment upon completion and are very straightforward for any age. Finding wholesome jigsaw puzzles with pleasant pictures are quite easy and can provide great replay value.
Dominoes have a distinct black and white design that makes them ideal for elderly patients to use and understand. As well as that, the pieces are usually of a good size so are easy to hold and manoeuvre around the table. With a simple premise that most people will either know or grasp the concept very quickly, Dominoes are great for keeping an active mind and having fun.
3. Card Games
There are a countless number of games you can play with cards and everyone, both young and old, should be familiar with at least one or two. Avoid games that involve tricking your opponent or lying such as poker. Find some fun and simple games, such as Snap, that will provide plenty of fun. In shops or on the internet, you can find larger sized cards or specialised holders to make handling the cards much easier.
Studies have shown that Bingo is one of the best games to help with the daily management of dementia because of its simplicity combined with providing the right level of mental stimulation. The alertness and concentration required to play Bingo have shown to improve the condition of patients in the short term. Also, it's a fun group activity that can incorporate many people in a care home, bringing together patients to improve their internal relationships. If you find that the patients are struggling with numbers, another benefit is that you can replace them with almost anything from food to animals.
5. Snakes and Ladders
This childhood favourite is a great way to incorporate both adults and children into a time of fun and cognitive activity. The snakes and ladders board game comes in many different forms but you can opt for the pre-school option with bright colours and big pieces. This ensures the board is easy to see and the pieces are easy to handle.
If you or a loved one is suffering from dementia and are looking for some in-home care services, then contact Sova Healthcare today. Our team of experienced and qualified caregivers can offer compassionate home care, domiciliary care and assisted living. With offices in Birmingham, Leicester, Harrogate and Bradford, we can provide home care services across the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire Regions. Find out how Sova Healthcare can help you today!