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What Are Some Good Games for Dementia?

Pieces for chess, which can help with dementia.
Playing cards demands skills that can help with dementia.
Crossword puzzles can keep a dementia patient stay engaged for hours.
Sudoku can be a great game for dementia patients.
Playing dominoes may be good for dementia patients.
Dementia patients might benefit from doing jigsaw puzzles.
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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Games, including crosswords, cards, and puzzles, are activities that can be useful for individuals with dementia. Often occurring in the elderly, dementia is a condition that affects a person's mental functioning. Not simply a normal part of getting older, dementia causes an individual to become disorientated, which impedes on daily life. Keeping mentally active can enhance vitality and increase brain cells. Many games for dementia patients can delay or temporarily dispel the condition by keeping individuals focused.

Crossword puzzles and other word games can keep dementia patients busy for hours. The puzzles found daily in the newspaper challenges individuals to recall trivia and dates while also testing one’s vocabulary. Dementia patients do not always have to rely on the puzzles found in the papers. Crossword puzzles with a theme geared to a person’s interests can also keep an individual active and mentally sharp.

Similar to crosswords, Sudoku enhances a person’s brain power. However, instead of testing one’s vocabulary, Sudoku is a popular number-placement puzzle that combines math skills with logical thinking. Like crossword puzzles, Sudoku varies in skill levels.

Cards are games for dementia patients to also play. Playing cards can assist dementia patients as games require concentration, logic, and simple math skills. Card games also test a dementia patient’s ability to sort and match. Some easy card games to play include war, old maid, solitaire, and crazy eights. Card games that require higher levels of thinking include cribbage, bridge, and hearts.

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Jigsaw puzzles are also useful games for dementia patients. Puzzles are an activity that require individuals to piece shapes to form a picture. Putting pieces together requires dexterity, logic, and coordination. The severity of a person’s dementia is will determine how many pieces he can handle.

Bingo is a popular game for seniors with or without dementia. For individuals with dementia, bingo is an easy game to play, as it is played at a relatively slow pace and numbers are often repeated. Bingo aids dementia patients with their concentration and ability to recognize numbers. In addition, the game can be played with many people, providing a social outlet.

Games for dementia patients can also include dominoes, checkers, and chess. These popular games need individuals to use tactical thinking. Depending on a person’s level of dementia, chess may not be an option because of the complexity of the rules.

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MrsPramm
Post 3

@umbra21 - When someone has dementia, it's their support people that I always feel bad for. I mean, knowing that your mental facilities are declining is rough, but you can still do a lot of things like playing games and get some enjoyment out of life.

If someone is having to watch you 24 hours a day though, that can just be completely heart breaking and more stress than I think I could ever bear.

umbra21
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I think it depends on the person and the dementia diagnosis. My grandfather was diagnosed with dementia when he was in the last couple of years of his life and he actually seemed to rally and perk up the more people came to see him. So playing a social game was something he really enjoyed.

It was actually quite difficult for my grandmother because she often had to care for him herself while he was going through more difficult periods and his visitors never witnessed that because he would be so much happier and lucid when they were around.

I mean, she liked him being happy, of course, but I think it hurt her feelings that he wasn't like that for her by herself.

I suspect it was more to do with feeling like he could actually relax around her though.

lluviaporos
Post 1

There are a lot of games that are particularly good at helping to prevent dementia as well. Even patients who have Alzheimer's will often be able to delay the illness by participating in games that require a lot of mental energy, like Sudoku or bridge.

I wouldn't try to have someone play bridge after they develop dementia though, since it is usually played against people and depends on co-operation between partners and that could be too much stress for the average dementia patient. Activities for dementia should be as mentally taxing as possible for an individual, but as stress free as possible as well.

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