Games to play for people living with dementia

Playing games in long term dementia care facilities offers residents much more than just entertainment. The impact that playing games has on the health and well-being of individuals has been well documented. Playing games provides an important source of relaxation, socialization and mental stimulation. Certain games need to be adapted and modified according to individual needs such as sensory and hearing loss, impaired vision or those in wheelchairs.

Puzzles
Puzzles can be a great source of distraction and also helps build memory function. Choose a puzzle that has the correct amount of pieces and that contains a great deal of colors. Start with easier puzzles that have bigger puzzle pieces and upgrade from there. Try helping the person build the frame first and then the inside of the puzzle is usually easier for them.

Musical Games
Play popular music from your loved ones’ era as this never fails to please. Allow your loved one to join in on the fun by giving them percussion instruments to play. You could also play songs and ask them to recall the artist or name of the song.

Sport Games
Swingball, table tennis, croquet, carpet bowls and mini golf are all activities that residents with dementia can enjoy. They help maintain physical mobility, competitiveness and teamwork.

DIY with beads
There are many uses of bead activities for those living with dementia. Stringing beads is a very simple and affordable activity that produces beautiful and satisfying results. You could also ask your loved one to sort beads by colours and sizes. Just remember that small objects pose a risk for swallowing by certain residents.

Bingo
Bingo is an ideal game for people with dementia. It is enjoyed everyday by people of all ages, so it certainly is age-appropriate; and it is easy to understand and play. It requires that the person distinguish and match colors and shapes, so it is beneficial at a cognitive level.

Scent Guessing
The sensory functions of those living with dementia can sometimes decline and sensory activities can help to improve their emotional and physical health. A fun activity would be to blindfold your loved one and ask them to guess what the object is by its smell. You can use cinnamon sticks, coffee, fresh flowers or even essential oils. If your loved one does not respond well to being blindfolded, we recommend adding the objects to a fabric pouch or bag and allowing them to smell it themselves.

People with dementia can have times where the days seem so long. Having them perform dementia activities is important to their health and wellbeing. At Livewell, we place importance on stimulating activities such as games for our residents. Our programmes ensure a memory-care focused lifestyle by actively engaging with the individual needs of our residents and addressing their unique requirements. The tranquil gardens of the Livewell Villages as well as our spacious and sunny living rooms, provide the perfect platform for our diverse and stimulating activities programme. With a range of over 30 activities, Livewell offers a variety of choices to the individual, from music and crafts, to sports, board games, library visits and outings.

2 Responses to “Games to play for people living with dementia”


  • Anne - Marie Coetzee / / Reply

    All the information is incredible and also to share it with the families. Thank you so much.


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Since 2011, the Livewell Group has been at the forefront of dementia and Alzheimer’s care in South Africa. We are motivated by a personal and heartfelt concern for the dignity and care of our elders and our efforts continue to be encouraged by the strong market need for specialised individual care.

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