Need ideas for elderly games that combine fun and function? Here’s a great place to start!
As important as it is for people of all ages to keep learning and exercising their brains, it’s crucial for seniors who want to stay sharp, says Lynn Wilson, founder of The CareGiver Partnership, a national online retailer of incontinence products and other home health care supplies.
“From a modular activity set designed to stimulate memory and coordination, to fun family games anyone can play anywhere, there are endless ways to stay mentally active,” says Wilson. “Try one of more activities from this list or use the ideas to inspire your own games.”
- Learning new hobbies: An excellent way to exercise the mind, learning something can involve reading and research, the fun of buying supplies and practicing. In groups, teaching others a new skill encourages socialization and can be fulfilling for the senior in the know. Considerations include horticulture, crafts, cooking, learning to use social media and much more.
- Math games: Remember the fun and challenge of practicing math skills using flashcards? Purchase flashcards at a learning shop, toy or book store, or online, or make a set yourself for an elderly loved one. This can easily be modified into a group activity — organized a math bee with prizes!
- I Spy: A favorite game for all ages, all you need for I Spy is two or more players. One person selects an object, such as a table, and says, “I spy something that begins with the letter T,” or “I spy something brown.” Players take turns and the person who correctly guesses the most is the winner.
- Puzzles: Everyone loves puzzles, and fortunately they’re available in all sizes, themes and difficulty levels. Shop for puzzles your senior loved one might enjoy or make your own. Simply print enlarged copies of favorite family photos and mount the paper on cardstock before cutting. Making your own puzzles offers the added bonus of recognizing familiar faces and reminiscing over past memories.
- R.O.S. Therapy Systems: These are activity sets created to exercise the brain and stimulate memory skills and hand-eye coordination. Designed for those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and developmental challenges, R.O.S. patented modular activity sets, such as the Legacy Bundle Package, allow caregivers to customize activities based on a senior’s preferences and abilities. R.O.S. Therapy Systems are ideal for use as an ice breaker or reminiscence tool and can be personalized to a loved one’s past occupation or hobby. Activities include puzzles, tic-tac-toe and much more. (find this at caregiving101store.com)
- Super-sized games: Making larger-than-life versions of favorite games can add novelty, promote mobility and also helps the visually impaired. Pick up some large poster board at any hobby shop and make tic-tac-toe or bingo cards with colorful plastic plates as chips.
- Word games: An inexpensive, portable and effective way to exercise the brain, word games include large-print crossword puzzles, word find and Sudoku books.
- Memory games: From playing card sets where participants try to match pictures, to creating your own memory flashcards in the style of trivia games, memory exercises are a great way to help keep a loved one’s mind alert.
- Traditional games: Put a fun new twist on favorite traditions by shopping for jumbo playing cards, colorful dice and classic board games with new themes.
- Electronic games: In addition to the wide variety of battery-powered, portable games found at department stores, there are an endless number of apps for all ages that can be played on tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktop computers.
(This article originally appeared on the CareGiver Partnership blog.)
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.