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Parkinson’s disease affects muscles throughout the body. This means even the mouth and tongue can be affected, making it difficult to speak, to swallow, to emote, and more. Also, in some cases decreased cognitive function accompanies the muscular symptoms and can be as severe as dementia.

The four main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:

  1. Tremors: The shaking or trembling of hands, arms, and/or legs.
  2. Stiff muscles.
  3. Slow movement.
  4. Problems with balance or walking.

These issues can make it very hard for people with Parkinson’s disease to play games. It is hard to hold a hand of cards when your hands shake. It is hard to sit over a board game for extended periods of time with stiff muscles. Games like charades can be impossible due to slower movements and balance problems. In other words, Parkinson’s disease can get in the way of game playing.

Why does this matter? For some it doesn’t. However, game playing is a great way for caregivers, family members, friends, and neighbors to engage, interact with, and spend time with those with Parkinson’s. Playing games can give a person a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Game playing can help alleviate problems of negative self-worth, depression, boredom, and isolation – which are commonly associated with progressive diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease gets progressively worse, and is frustrating for caregivers and sufferers alike. Game playing can help normalize life, and provide entertainment and fun.

When choosing games to be used with those that suffer from Parkinson’s disease it is important to keep the following in mind:

  1. No cards.
  2. No long or extended play games.
  3. Simple rules.
  4. No games that require regular need for muscle control.
  5. No secrecy games.

Those with Parkinson’s disease want to be able to play a game without too much help or modification. They do not want to suffer the embarrassment of not being able to hold their cards, or place their pieces, or keep their tiles hidden, etc. Games ought to be carefully selected to meet the specific abilities (and disabilities) of Parkinson’s disease sufferers.

Where can you find such games? R.O.S. Therapy System’s Legacy Activity System might be the answer. It offers moments of contact and enjoyment despite difficulty with declined cognitive abilities and slower motor skills.

R.O.S. Therapy System’s Legacy Activity System

The Activity System’s patented tray is what really makes the system work. It is like any gaming console where you have your main console, and you insert the game you wish to play. The various activity boards and games can simply be inserted into the tray and played. The pieces are large and easy to hold, and the various activity boards are easy to switch out.

The Legacy Activity System offers many benefits:

Stimulates social interaction.

Increases level of engagement.

Increases positive emotions.

Promotes the use of cognitive abilities.

It is easy to clean, and can be played in a bed, chair, at a table, etc. It is designed for those with Parkinson’s and other mental and physical handicaps to allow for creative expression, fun, and to be a source of entertainment as well as self-worth.  If interested, you can find it here.


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.