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Games and Activities for Your Loved One with Dementia

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends! This week I surveyed an occupational therapist and a speech pathologist to gain insight on the best ways to help my sweet grandmother who was recently diagnosed with dementia. I learned so many wonderful tips and ideas that I would love to share with you all in this week’s blog post! They both recommend a plethora of great games, activities, apps, and general tips all of which I will share below. 

Here’s what the speech pathologist had to say when I asked what her favorite activities are to do with her dementia patients:  

“First I administer the MoCA (Montreal Cognitive Assessment) or another type of test to find a baseline first and see their severity level then base my activities off of that and where their weaknesses are. I do a lot of word searches and crossword puzzles. I also make them describe basic objects that I hold up (where do you find it, what’s it used for etc. – this one is the best) it’s amazing how difficult that can be. You can scaffold the activity by showing them questions like “where do you find it” and then for more advanced patients make them come up with these things on their own. I’ve been doing word scrambles too.” 

Here’s a list of her favorite activities that she recommended for me to try at home with my grandmother: 

  • Word searches 
  • Puzzles
  • Word unscrambles
  • Description of objects
  • Timed Recall of Categories (one minute to list as many ice cream flavors as possible)
  • Reading and recalling passage information (write footnotes within each paragraph to help them recall the bulk of the paragraph without having to re-read)
  • Baking
  • Exercise

Next, I surveyed my grandmother occupational therapist: 

Here’s what she had to say:

“Covid-19 has added new challenges to my job so we have been getting creative with our teletherapy sessions. I love playing card games with your grandma. This is an easy one for us to do virtually. I also have your grandpa play card games with her several nights a week. She has several apps on her phone that I ask her to do in her free time and she seems to enjoy! In a typical office setting, we would be using a lot of flashcards, drawing together, working with calendar and clocks, and working on patterns.” 

Here’s a list of the activities she recommended: 

Card games (along with many others, these are just my grandma’s favorites) : 

  • Go fish
  • Matching games
  • BINGO
  • Blackjack
  • Phase 10

Apps: 

  • Lumosity
  • Peak
  • Elevate
  • Cognifit Brain Fitness
  • Mensa Brain Training

I found the information they both shared with me extremely beneficial. I love knowing ways I can help my grandma while still enjoying our time together! If you have any recommendations that you love to do with your elderly loved one, please send me an email! I’d love to hear any and all recommendations. 

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