Dementia is a debilitating cognitive disorder and the primary symptom is memory loss. This is why the best dementia care for seniors includes a memory care plan. Home caregivers and medical professionals can help seniors with dementia by building out a care plan that focuses on the unique qualities and lifestyle circumstances of each individual.
Memory boosting games are a great component to any dementia care plan. The benefits of memory boosting games are plenty. Games are interactive, which reduces stress by engaging the senses. The social aspect of games helps reduce loneliness in seniors and the creative aspect helps to instill confidence and self-worth.
3 Memory Boosting Games for Seniors who have Dementia
There are many memory boosting games from which to choose. Home caregivers can work with the senior in their care to determine which games are the best fit and which will be the most successful in improving cognitive function. Below are three popular memory boosting games that family members and home caregivers can do with seniors who have dementia.
Matching Card Games. There are two main levels to this game, depending on how much dementia symptoms have progressed. In the most basic level, the caregiver has a small deck of cards and the senior has a matching deck. The caregiver lays out a card and the senior has to choose the card from their own deck that matches. In the more advanced level of the game, the caregiver lays two matching sets of cards face down and the senior can turn over two cards at a time. After, the two cards get turned back down. With each turn, the senior tries to remember which cards are where, and aims to choose two matching cards. When a match is achieved, the senior keeps the cards. The game ends when there are no more cards left.
Matching games involve using the skills of recall and short-term memory function. By practicing these skills, seniors who have dementia can strengthen them. The mental stimulation required by focusing on the cards also provides a gentle memory boosting workout.
Bingo. In this game, seniors are given bingo cards and a caregiver calls out the numbers. Once the senior has a line formed on their card, they can call “Bingo!” and win the game. This game can be played with just one senior and their caregiver or with multiple players.
A study in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia concluded that participants who played Bingo had improved cognition compared to participants who did not play the game. Bingo requires players to remain alert and retain a steady level of awareness. The game also contains a matching component that improves recall skills.
3. Checkers. This game is a classic, so playing checkers can have the added bonus of inducing feelings of nostalgia. There are checker sets designed specifically for seniors who have dementia, with a larger board and larger game pieces than the original version of the game. As a two player game, checkers creates quality time for a senior and their caregiver. The goal of checkers is to move your pieces from your end of the board to the opponent’s end of the board, using moves specific to the game. The first person with all their pieces on the other side wins.
The component of strategy in checkers exercises cognitive areas of the brain. The game requires recall, friendly competition, socialization, and critical thinking. Exercising all of these things on a regular basis has been shown to boost memory.
Providing Quality Dementia Care for Seniors
Playing memory boosting games is one of the ways home caregivers provide quality dementia care for seniors. Since seniors who have dementia need a lot of care as the disorder progresses, it is important to establish a solid care plan early on. Caregivers from a reputable home care agency will be best equipped to handle the challenges of dementia care. For example, the home caregivers at Alegre Home Care receive specialized dementia care and memory care training.
If you’d like to learn more, please contact Alegre Home Care at one of our Northern California locations.