Week 4, 15th April. Activity - Games (various ideas to suit different likes and ability levels).
1). Board games. Anything from Monopoly to Scrabble and everything in between. More traditional games are often easier to remember as they will often have been played throughout childhood, and will therefore be retained in memory for longer.
2). Card games. Again memory for these can often be quite good if they were played when young. For those finding difficulty in following anything but basics, try easy games such as 'snap' or 'pairs'.
3). Noughts and Crosses. A quick game that can be done repeatedly. Can be very useful for someone who cannot concentrate for long periods. Also very useful as a distraction, to change the person's focus from something that may be unhelpful.
4). Games specifically designed for those with dementia. These can be found on websites such as 'The Alzheimer's Society' or 'Dementia Friends', as well as many other independent sites.
5). Talking games. No costs need to be incurred. Sometimes a simple word association game can be useful. These are great as obviously no 'equipment' is needed and they can be done absolutely anywhere. There are numerous different types. Anything from 'I-spy' to 'alphabet games' (where you take a topic e.g. names, and each take turns thinking of a name beginning with 'A', 'B', 'C'.....etc.). Again these are great for distraction and refocussing attention.
Talk about games from childhood. This is a continuing theme in the 'discussions', but vitally important for engagement of those who are living usually either in the moment, or in the past.
Ask what games someone remembers playing when they were younger. What was their favourite game? What did they like to play when they were outside? Which games were specifically seen as for 'indoor' or 'outdoors'. Were there any they remember that could be both? E.g. 'Hide and Seek'. Where was their favourite place to hide? Who were their playmates when they were younger? Can they remember playing with schoolfriends? How did games differ at school and at home or in friends houses?
Games are similar to puzzles in that as long as you find the right level they can usually be continued for many years into dementia. They may have to be adapted, but this can be quite easily managed.
Traditional card games may now be beyond someone, but brightly coloured children's cards and games may still be helpful. Even if they are just used to talk about the characters on them.
Word games are great. They can be used anywhere and can often diffuse a tense time by moving attention away from something that is troubling or upsetting. They can also help distract from unwanted behaviour towards the carer or others.
The alphabet games described above can be used with greater effect (and enjoyment) by choosing a subject matter a person has a specific interest in. E.g. flowers, animals, food, films, books.....anything you can think of.
If it still seems a bit too structured, simply look out of the window, or around the room you happen to be in and ask questions such as "What colours can you see?", or "How many birds are in the garden?". Anything that requires a little thought and interaction is good for both of you.
Wising you all continued health. Until next week, take care. Pam x