Games for people with dementia have been acknowledged as a beneficial intervention for improving cognitive abilities and promoting mental stimulation. Playing games has been found to offer cognitive benefits for individuals in the initial phases of dementia.
These games provide a relaxed environment that facilitates the enhancement of cognitive functions. The assortment of games available encompasses brain games, board games, card games, memory games, and electronic games. Elder care services Singapore also offer these games specifically designed to promote pattern recognition and cognitive stimulation.
In this article, we’ll explore the usefulness of games for people with dementia and provide a range of activity suggestions adapted to different skill and group activity levels and dementia progressions.
Advantages of Game Engagement for People with Dementia
Even in the late stages of dementia, playing games can have a major influence on a patient’s cognitive performance. Participating in mentally stimulating activities, such as board games, card games, and memory games, has been shown to enhance cognitive functioning, improve memory recall, and enhance hand-eye coordination.
Home care in Singapore helps in countering cognitive decline for older adults through the use of the right game as dementia progresses. The following are several advantages associated with engaging in gaming activities:
Games offer essential mental stimulation to people with dementia. Participating in cognitive activities is beneficial in maintaining cognitive function and slowing down the advancement of the disease. Activities such as brain games, memory games, and crossword puzzles can stimulate different areas of the brain, thereby enhancing neural plasticity and maintaining cognitive functions.
Research has indicated that engaging in memory games, such as memory matching and word games, can effectively improve memory retention and recall abilities. These activities enhance memory connections and promote the retrieval of information, providing notable advantages for individuals with dementia who are facing memory impairment.
The emotional well-being of individuals can be positively impacted through the act of playing games. This activity has the potential to elicit positive emotions, diminish stress levels, and alleviate the prevalent feelings of loneliness and isolation often experienced by individuals with dementia. Social games have been found to facilitate the development of interpersonal bonds and a strong sense of camaraderie among players, thereby resulting in enhanced emotional well-being.
Improved Communication Skills
Certain types of games, such as board games, memory games, and card games, serve as catalysts for fostering communication and promoting social interaction. Participating in these activities can facilitate individuals with dementia in preserving and potentially enhancing their communication skills, which typically deteriorate as the disease advances.
Improved Motor Skills
Some games incorporate physical actions, such as manipulating game pieces in board games or playing checkers, performing shuffling and dealing motions in play games. These activities can be used to support the maintenance and enhancement of motor skills in individuals diagnosed with dementia.
Heightened Sense of Achievement
The act of successfully finishing games and attaining objectives has the potential to elevate the self-worth and trust levels of individuals diagnosed with dementia. The provision of a sense of accomplishment contributes to the overall sense of well-being experienced by individuals with early dementia.
Decreased Behavioral Problems
Engagement in regular game-playing sessions has been observed to result in a decrease in agitation, hostility, and other challenging behaviours frequently linked to dementia. These cognitively stimulating activities serve to redirect the patient’s attention and facilitate a shift towards positive experiences.
Recommended Games for People with Dementia
Dementia patients provide a diverse range of cognitive benefits including but not limited to memory enhancement and improved cognitive function. The following list of best games comprises a selection of highly effective games that have demonstrated their ability to offer mental stimulation and counter cognitive decline to individuals diagnosed with dementia.
Board games are a wonderful game that is played on a flat surface, typically a board, with pieces or tokens that are moved or manipulated according to a set of rules. These provide cognitively stimulating activities and promote social interaction. Engaging in the activity of playing board games has been shown to have a positive impact on brain health and memory retention. These are some of the widely recognized board people with dementia:
Chess is a strategic board game that involves two players. It is played on a square board divided into 64 squares of alternating colours. Chess is a highly beneficial activity for individuals with dementia due to its emphasis on strategic thinking, planning, and problem-solving skills. The game’s complexity can be customized to accommodate the individual’s cognitive abilities, offering an appropriate degree of cognitive activity.
Although not categorized as a traditional board game, jigsaw puzzles have proven to be remarkably efficient in stimulating the brain. These assist in enhancing visual-spatial perception, memory, and fine motor skills. Selecting puzzles that align with an individual’s cognitive abilities is of utmost importance.
Puzzles and brain games are a category of activities that stimulate mental capacity and problem-solving skills. A wide variety of puzzle and brain game applications are currently accessible, including popular options like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and word search games. These applications are designed to promote mental activity and enhance cognitive sharpness.
Scrabble is a word-based board game that requires players to create words using a collection of letter tiles. Scrabble is a game that effectively enhances language skills, memory, and creativity, rendering it a highly suitable choice for individuals with dementia.
Bingo is a recreational activity that promotes the development of cognitive skills, including attention, number recognition, and memory. Moreover, it promotes social interaction, thereby offering emotional advantages to individuals affected by dementia.
Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders is a timeless and engaging board game that has amused individuals of various age groups. This platform offers more than just entertainment; it provides a pleasurable means to participate in games and actively involve oneself in serious games that may significantly improve cognitive functioning.
The game involves rolling dice and advancing along a numbered board to reach the highest position. However, players must exercise caution to avoid setbacks caused by encountering snakes, which result in moving backwards on the board. The game’s straightforward design allows for easy understanding and enjoyment for individuals with early stages of dementia.
Card games are a popular form of entertainment and one of the favourite games that can be played by individuals or groups and typically involve a combination of strategy, and skill. These kinds of play games are not just a game as they present a favourable choice for elderly people with dementia due to their capacity to be played at a leisurely pace and provide cognitive benefits. There are several playing cards for older patients with dementia which include:
Bridge is a widely played card game that necessitates the utilization of strategic thinking, memory retention, and effective collaboration with a partner. The game’s social component can provide notable advantages for individuals with dementia.
Matching Card Games
Matching games, such as “Memory” or “Concentration,” require players to flip cards to locate and match pairs. These games are designed to improve memory skills and can be adjusted to accommodate various levels of difficulty and varying abilities.
Uno is a card game that is both straightforward and engaging with the potential to enhance cognitive skills, including attention and decision-making abilities. The game’s vibrant cards and straightforward rules contribute to its ease of use for elderly patients.
Digital games refer to interactive electronic games that are played on various devices such as computers, gaming consoles, or mobile devices. Playing games utilizing digital technology provide older adults with an immersive gaming experience.
Lumosity is a widely used brain-training application that provides a range of games designed to enhance memory, attention, problem-solving, and flexibility skills. The software’s interface is designed to be easily navigable and intuitive, enhancing its usability for individuals with dementia. Additionally, the program’s adaptive difficulty feature ensures that the level of challenge is adjusted according to the user’s abilities, further enhancing its suitability for an older adult with dementia.
Elevate is another brain-training application that specifically targets language and math skills which are also designed to be advantageous for individuals who are experiencing dementia.
Exploring Additional Activities for People with Dementia
In addition to engaging in recreational gaming, individuals with dementia can derive substantial benefits from participating in various other activities. It is essential to customize these activities based on the individual’s specific interests, capabilities, and stage of dementia. Consider the examples below:
Music therapy is a therapeutic approach that can effectively target a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs experienced by individuals. Engaging in the act of listening to well-known songs and actively participating in singing or music-making endeavours has been shown to have a positive impact on one person’s sense of emotional state, by enhancing mood, alleviating anxiety, and fostering opportunities for social engagement.
Art and Crafts
Creative activities that involve the use of different materials and techniques to produce visually appealing and aesthetic materials such as painting, drawing, or crafting, can yield significant advantages for individuals diagnosed with dementia. Artistic expression serves as a mode of communication in situations where verbal abilities diminish, while also nurturing creativity and enhancing self-esteem.
Gardening activities provide individuals with sensory stimulation and foster a profound connection with the natural environment. This engagement with nature promotes a sense of relaxation and effectively mitigates stress levels. Engaging in the activities of planting, watering, and tending to plants can yield a gratifying sense of achievement.
Reminiscence Therapy Reminiscence therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the recollection and discussion of memories and experiences. This activity program has the potential to enhance the sense of value and understanding among individuals with dementia, while simultaneously improving cognitive functions related to memory recall.
Physical exercise is defined as any form of bodily activity that serves to improve or sustain physical fitness and overall health. Research studies have demonstrated that engaging in regular physical exercise can yield cognitive advantages for individuals diagnosed with dementia. Engaging in activities such as walking, practising tai chi, and performing chair exercises has been shown to enhance balance, mobility, and overall well-being.
The act of connecting with animals, specifically therapy dogs, has been found to offer solace and emotional assistance to individuals suffering from dementia. Studies have demonstrated that animal-assisted therapy effectively diminishes restlessness and enhances emotional well-being.
Cooking and Baking
Culinary activities that involve the preparation and cooking of food require specific techniques, ingredients, and equipment to achieve desired results. Individuals with dementia can be engaged through the implementation of uncomplicated cooking or baking activities. The process of measuring ingredients, stirring, and tasting can all provide individuals with enjoyable and rewarding experiences.
Reading and Storytelling
The activity of reading books, particularly those that feature large print and familiar narratives, can provide individuals with dementia with both enjoyment and cognitive stimulation. The act of storytelling, whether it be through written works or personal narratives, serves to create patterns that foster communication and promote active involvement.
Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are effective methods for promoting mental well-being and reducing stress. These techniques involve focusing one’s attention on the present moment and cultivating a sense of calm and relaxation. Practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and meditation, can effectively alleviate anxiety while enhancing focus and concentration.
Technology interaction encompasses the various ways in which technology is used, accessed, and manipulated by users. In addition to brain-training applications, technology provides a range of interactive experiences for individuals diagnosed with dementia. Cognitive and emotional stimulation can be achieved through playing touch-screen games, augmented reality experiences, watching famous movies, using a cell phone to play the right games, and video calling with loved ones.
In conclusion, engaging in different kinds of games, such as brain games, board games, card games, and memory games, has been found to offer notable cognitive benefits to dementia patients.
As the progression of dementia occurs, it becomes crucial to modify activities by the diverse abilities and the later stages of the disease. The inclusion of diverse games and activities, such as music therapy, art and crafts, and gardening, can play a significant role in preserving cognitive function and promoting overall well-being among individuals with dementia.
Additionally, participating in these activities alongside a loved one and family members can facilitate emotional bonding and offer assistance to individuals with dementia.
Caregivers can enhance the well-being of individuals with dementia in ageing societies by establishing an environment that is both supportive and stimulating. This not only contributes to the enjoyment of the individuals but also promotes brain function, health and overall quality of life. Click here to know more helpful suggestions for everyday activities and other games for dementia care.
It is imperative to acknowledge that every individual exhibits distinct characteristics. Hence, identifying appropriate games and activity suggestions that are in line with the individual’s interests and cognitive capabilities is important to provide effective dementia care.
By providing dementia patients with stimulating, fun, and meaningful activities, it is possible to enhance their sense of empowerment and enable them to lead fulfilling lives while also maintaining their cognitive abilities for an extended period. Visit this article to learn more about ageing in place for elderly people in Singapore.