It Creates A Sense Of Normalcy And Structure
Developing a routine is vital in the life of a person with dementia. As dementia progresses, individuals may begin to feel increasingly frustrated with the gradual loss of their cognitive abilities. This may cause undesirable behaviours such as restlessness, agitation, and even aggression in some cases.
While most forms of dementia are irreversible, these are some ways that games can slow down the decline of ones cognitive functions.
Benefits Of Brain Games For Seniors
In one recent research, seniors in different groups underwent varied brain stimulation through everyday activities one group focused on learning to quilt, another tried to learn digital photography while yet another learned both. And in another test group, seniors were asked to do mundane activities and receptive tasks like doing crosswords or reading newspapers, but no active learning was involved.
At the end of the 14 week trial, all the group members were tested thoroughly for memory and cognitive capacities. The group that had engaged in more active learning roles learning to quilt, handle digital photography software and do crosswords and learn new skills scored best in all the tests.
Clearly there is a direct correlation between simple brain games for seniors and an improvement in cognitive capacity and brain health. The real takeaway is to challenge the brain to learn new skills without asking for too much. Frustration at inability to master a new skill is harmful but a gentle challenge to the brain to push it to develop new thinking and reasoning can be highly beneficial.
Games For Alzheimer Patients To Play
For Alzheimers patients and their families, the disease can be extremely disheartening and terrifying. As it progresses over time, patients often find themselves feeling agitated and irritable.
A simple Dementia simulation game can do wonders for the hope of an Alzheimers patient. Plus, Alzheimers games provide cognitive help and repetition that can make living with Alzheimers more bearable.
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Popular And Inspiring Activities For An Active Mind
Traditional games like Bingo, Crossword puzzles, and Scrabble are a great way for seniors to exercise their brains, but its important to find fresh and inspiring ways to keep your mind active. The possibilities are endless and a lot of them are free or low cost.
Engaging in games and playful activities can improve memory, daily life skills, cognitive ability, and emotional wellbeing. To maximize the benefits, your brain needs to be challenged every day. Thats why it is important to find activities that speak to your individual interests and capabilities. Fortunately, there are a host of ways to keep your mind active that are fun and easy to enjoy anywhere, by anyone.
Here are some ideas that will hopefully get you inspired:
Puzzle Tile And Board Games
Tabletop games are fantastic for social gatherings. That’s why a lot of seniors turn to this form of entertainment, especially when they want to encourage friends or family members to visit. Plus, a study in BMJ Open suggests that playing board games might help slow cognitive decline or reduce depression in elderly people. And since board games are generally played sitting down, they are good for seniors who have limited mobility.
The best board games for seniors are fun, absorbing, and challenging . They are also great for multi-generational play. Here are some popular examples:
1. Qwirkle: Mix and match tiles with different shapes and colors, scoring points by completing or adding to lines of the same shapes or colors.
2. Dixit: Out-bluff your opponents while using your imagination to match stories to beautifully illustrated cards.
3. Ticket to Ride: Claim as many North American railway routes as you can by collecting illustrated train cards and reaching more cities than your opponents within a short amount of time.
4. Rummikub: Be the first one to play all of your numbered tiles by placing them in consecutive sequences or groups of the same numbers or colors.
5. Sorry! Sliders: Slide your pawns into home or take out the pawns of your opponents in this twist on the classic Sorry! game that ditches the cards in favor of a mini-shuffleboard type of experience.
9. Bugs in the Kitchen: Set the path and lure the little scuttling bug into your trap before anyone else.
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Games For Seniors Living With Alzheimers Or Dementia
Research shows that brain games can be effective in delaying the onset of dementia in older adults. However, there are plenty of fun, stimulating games for those already suffering. Seek out games that offer social interaction and include an appropriate amount of mental stimulation that may slow cognitive decline.
Stimulating activities can help people with Alzheimers by encouraging self-expression, fostering emotional connections, reducing anxiety, and stirring up positive memories. AARP.org explains the importance of finding meaningful activities, not just ones that fill time. Consider what your loved one enjoyed in the past and make adjustments to ensure that these activities are safe and free of frustration for them now. Some activities to consider include:
- Prepare simple recipes
- Look at books or create a photo box
- Read the newspaper
- Tend a garden or visit a botanical garden
- Play music and sing songs
- Watch family videos or create a memory box
Crafting can also be a great way for seniors with Alzheimers or dementia to keep their hands busy and produce familiar motions that reduce anxiety and calm nerves. These may include things like knitting with large gauge needles or painting.
Digital Games For Brain Training
There are a number of apps and computer programs that have been designed solely for the purpose of increasing brain function. If you have access to a computer, smartphone, or large-screen tablet, these apps are available on nearly all platforms.
While technology may be intimidating for some, these apps are designed so that even the least tech savvy individuals can interact with them in an easy-to-understand and stress-free way. Online games are easy to find, quick to access, and fun to play.
One of the benefits of engaging in digital games is that most of them record your progress over time, so you have an actual account of your improvement, which leads to a sense of accomplishment. Also, these apps are designed to be visually exciting and engaging, so you are likely to engage with them more often.
Here are some of the most popular brain training apps:
Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at Kings College London have shown that online brain training games not only improve memory and thinking skills, but also how well elderly adults function in their everyday tasks like cooking, shopping, and managing their finances.
You can start seeing results pretty quickly. A recent study showed that seniors who completed brain training exercises on a daily basis for only 5 to 6 weeks saw improvement in their cognitive abilities and the effects lasted for at least 5 years.
Playing Virtual Reality Video Game May Boost Seniors Memory
A decline in memory is a harsh reality for some people as they age and may even mark the start of dementia, such as Alzheimers disease. But new research suggests that time spent in virtual reality through a video game could help older adults restore their memory into better shape.
Scientists at UC San Franciscos Neuroscape brain research center have developed a first-of-its-kind virtual reality video game that can improve memory in healthy, older adults, according to a study published Jan. 28 in Scientific Reports.
Peter Wais , PhD, tested a special virtual reality program to see if it would improve memory in older adults.
Eventually, researchers hope such games could serve as a digital intervention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, defined as a noticeable decline in memory and control of attention. According to the Alzheimers Association, 15 percent to 20 percent of people age 65 or older have mild cognitive impairment. Many drugs have been tested, but none has shown a sustained benefit for long-term memory.
Researchers saw an improvement in an important type of long-term memory high fidelity memory, the ability to tell apart new objects from very similar ones viewed before.
An important finding in the study is that players improved their high fidelity memory even though the game didnt focus on high fidelity memory tasks.
Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD
Online And Video Games
Online and video games includes everything from platform and 3-D building video games to online games from senior and health organizations specifically designed to improve brain power. Research from a number of studies has found that playing video games like Super Mario and Minecraft improves hand-eye coordination and engages the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with spatial and episodic memory. Interactive Wii and X-Box Kinect games also promote physical fitness. AARPs Staying Sharp website has a variety of games that encourage seniors to match colors and shapes, find their way through mazes, identify geographic locations and match sounds to images. At the Easter Seals website, a trial of BrainHQ from Posit Science offers seniors a selection of 25 brain exercise games.
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Games For Memory Care Residents
Technology has touched nearly every cornerstone of our lives, lending a hand with the best memory games for Alzheimer patients to play.
In this blog, well highlight some interactive games for Alzheimer patients to play to combat cognitive decline. Alzheimers disease is steadily growing more prevalent in the aging population. Almost 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers, and that number is projected to reach 14 million by 2050.
Even though it can show up during an adults 40s or 50s, most people diagnosed with Alzheimers are older than 65. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimers disease, but there are treatments that can help.
How Dementia Affects The Brain
Doctors and other medical professionals classify the severity of dementia by impairment level. Those levels include the following:
- No impairment. The patient does not show any symptoms, but tests can indicate a problem.
- Very mild decline. A patients behaviors may begin to change, but they will generally retain their independence.
- Mild decline. Thinking and reasoning are affected, so patients may have a hard time recalling recent events and may repeat themselves often.
- Moderate decline. It will be harder to make plans, remember events, travel, and handle finances.
- Moderately severe decline. The patient may not remember basic information like the day of the week or their phone number, and they may need assistance with daily functions.
- Severe decline. A severe decline involves forgetting the names of close loved ones and needing help eating and going to the restroom.
- Very severe decline. At this stage, a patient can no longer walk or speak, which means they will spend most of their time in bed.
The stages of dementia and how they progress are different for every patient. Your loved ones doctor may recommend certain treatments or admission into a nursing home facility, depending on the situation. You may feel helpless, but there are brain games for seniors with dementia that can help.
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Read Fiction Books And Retell The Tale
Reading is an immersive activity that, in addition to boosting cognitive skills and enhancing lost vocabulary, can help reduce feelings of isolation in older adults. A great added extra to enhance the benefits of reading, is to ask the older person to retell the tale in a succinct way once they have finished the book. Not only does this increases the social aspect of the activity, it also ensures that memory skills are developed.
Make Senior Games An Event
For many people in their golden years, time spent alone can be difficult, especially when a spouse passes away or when community involvement is cut back due to mobility. By organizing weekly or monthly events with fun games and activities, seniors can keep connected and active. Promote them through church groups and senior centers, welcoming anyone who wants to play or even those who just to watch as spectators.
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Handheld Electronic And App Games
Hand-held electronic and app games give seniors a chance to exercise the brain when they are alone, and the portability of these games means they are playable anywhere, including in a doctors waiting room or in bed. These games can be played against a computer, and in some cases, against other online players. From an app store, seniors can also , such as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud. Hand-held electronic card games encourage seniors to use math and strategy to win, and some games are available in senior-friendly mega screens that use larger buttons and graphics.
Fun And Novel Daily Life Activities
Practice Neurobics To Keep Your Brain Sharp with Daily Routine Challenges
- This is about breaking up your daily activities like brushing your teeth and use as many senses as possible + movement + environment changes
Heres Very Practical, Immediately Doable Examples of How to Bust Through Daily Brain Autopilot
Hand Dominant Mix Ups
*You may need a cue to do this at first from notes to bracelets to prompt you to change. You can extra complexity or richness with movement, doing it to the beat of the music for example.
Hidden Guess What
Opening The Door Eyes Close
25. Getting the keys out, finding the right one, orientating itto the lock and being aware of your body are all challenged with this exercise
Eating Eyes Closed
26. How often are you truly aware of the feed you eat? An eyes closed eating experience dials you into one of the most powerful senses when eating smell. Youll also challenge your hearing, awareness of food in your mouth, youll like be aware of other factors like your hunger or lack of it as well.
Attend To The Everyday
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is another video game with an exciting storyline that seniors can follow. In this simulation game, you play the role of a mayor of a town full of animals. You must perform specific routine activities to earn bells, which means the currency you can use to buy things.
This games beauty is that it does not require you to perform strenuous tasks you get to have fun alongside cute animals. Animal Crossing: New Horizons also allows you to explore and express your creativity. You can customize different characters appearances and purchase items, such as furniture, and furnish your in-game home as you desire.
The game allows you to partake in activities that you would do in real life, such as photography and swimming. You can include your friends in the game by playing it online with them.
Extend Your Life And Improve Physical Vitality
Physical activities are among the most popular for seniors. In addition to improving your physical strength, these activities release endorphins which promote happiness. Engaging in fun, playful activities can help boost your immune system, minimize pain, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk for illness.
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Try A Brain Training App
As long as your elderly loved one has a mobile phone or tablet they will be able to download apps to help with brain training. The best thing about using apps is they can be used and accessed anywhere. Depending on the type of app being used, these apps can improve concentration levels, visual-spatial skills and problem solving. A quick search in the app store will provide you with hundreds of brain training apps to choose from.
Here are a few app suggestions that may help stimulate your elderly loved ones brain:
Three Popular Social Games
Depression is less likely to occur in seniors who participate in games that require multiple players. The social aspect of these types of online games reduces social isolation. Remember that mental stress is associated with loneliness and isolation. Plus, social activity promotes an active and fulfilling life.
Seniors boost brain health and alleviate loneliness by playing online games, like Mahjong. Played often in Asian countries, Mahjong is a straightforward tile-matching game. AARP offers numerous versions of Mahjong online. Any of the ten online game options will suit seniors individual preferences.
AARPs Mahjong variations include Mahjong Solitaire, Mahjong: Age of Alchemy, Mahjong Dark Dimensions, Mahjong Toy Chest Classic Edition and Holiday Mahjong Dimensions. The AARP website where these games are played showcases the top scores earned by game participants, adding a fun and competitive element!
Mahjong is thought to help seniors with dementia. Players improve their planning, memory and calculation skills. Cognitive ability is enhanced. As seniors advance in the popular online game of Mahjong, they also improve their abilities to recall and find items.
Another stimulating online game renowned all over the world is chess. The game may be short or long, easy or challenging, offering seniors variations every time they play. Seniors stay social by playing with experienced chess masters or finding beginners with whom to compete.
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The Professor Layton Games
The Layton series of games are perfect for seniors who seek puzzling adventures and baffling brain teasers. These games are popular for their fun stories and puzzles. Also, they have little to no urgency. You can take time to learn as you solve different puzzles. We would recommend these games since they enable you to improve eye-hand coordination.