According to the No Place Like Home Report put together by the Live In Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk), 34% of all adults of all ages say that Dementia is the illness they fear most. Getting older is the biggest risk factor for dementia, but people can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle and exercising the mind. As we age, it can be more difficult to recall events and remember information such as what we’ve had for lunch or who you are visiting tomorrow; these memory struggles are a normal part of ageing and more often than not, people will remember, but it can take a bit of time. Memory games can help to provide a cognitive challenge and they can also be fun! Read on to see what our recommendations are for memory games for older people.
Arts and crafts
Although technically not a memory game, joining in with arts and crafts usually involves watching something and then recreating it, so there are moments where recall is required. This is a great all-round activity that requires focus, attention to detail and can help to maintain dexterity in hands and fingers. Why not invite some friends or family around and make a social event of it?
Search online or through your smartphone/tablet’s play store and you will find an array of word puzzles to test your memory and language smarts. Newspapers and magazines also have regular word puzzle features, or you can buy your own puzzle book from newsagents or bookstores. Try the local library as well, they may have some word puzzle stock.
You may have played this with young children and it’s just as effective for older people. It does require at least two people to play. Person starts with one item they need to buy, next person has to say that item and add their own item on and so on.
Reading and retelling
Reading is a great way to brush up on vocabulary that maybe lost and is also helpful to help older people relax and an enjoyable way to spend time if they find themselves alone a lot. The memory challenge comes with asking the older person to retell the story or recount their favourite parts. You may be able to find questions/book discussion topics online which can also be useful with the recall aspect.
Serving tray game
All you need here is a tray and a number of objects. People playing get to have a timed look at what is on the tray, the tray is then taken away and the ask is to list what items were on from memory. There are endless variations to this game – think themed trays, same colour objects etc.
Age related memory challenges should not be confused with dementia. Although memory loss is one of the symptoms of dementia, there are others as well such as struggling with everyday tasks, thinking, changes in behaviour, not being able to reason and language difficulties. If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, seek advice from a health professional.