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6 Great Board Games For Dementia Patients

6 Great Board Games for Dementia Patients

There’s nothing like sitting around a table and playing your favorite board game with friends and family. Board games are a simple way to feel connected to your loved ones and share a fun experience while also stimulating your mind. 

Board games are a great activity for dementia patients for many of the same reasons. Though some activities may become difficult as their dementia develops, regular mental stimulation is a great way to keep their brain as healthy as possible while preserving their quality of life and strengthening connections with their loved ones. 

Are you wondering what the best board games for dementia patients might be? There are so many activities that can benefit your loved one going through dementia, but this list is a great place to start. In fact, you might find your next favorite board game among these options as well!

1. Dominoes

There’s a reason the game of dominoes has stuck around for so many generations. This truly classic game is easy to follow and can be played with multiple group sizes, making it easy to scale up or down depending on how many people are playing. 

Generally, domino pieces are big enough to have clear markings, which allows older folks to see what they’re doing with ease. Additionally, the stark black-and-white design makes this game easier for dementia patients to play than some games with smaller, more nondescript pieces.

2. Bingo

Bingo is a game with simple rules that are easy to follow, making it another one of the best board games for dementia patients. There are so many different versions of the game based on a variety of interests, so there’s truly something for everyone. 

The benefits of bingo for dementia patients are proven by more than just anecdotal evidence. Studies conducted on the effect of bingo games on the mental state of dementia patients show that patients showed greater alertness during the game as well as several hours after. 

This means that bingo is just as much of an effective treatment method as it is an enjoyable activity for those suffering from dementia.

3. Scrabble

Scrabble is a common favorite among avid readers, writers, and wordsmiths. For your loved one with dementia, playing Scrabble could be a powerful tool to help preserve their memories surrounding words and phrases. 

Sentence construction and recalling the right word to describe things can be a challenge for people with dementia. That’s why playing Scrabble can help to support word retention during the early stages while providing the patient with a challenging and fun activity.

4. Yahtzee

Yahtzee is a common favorite among people of all ages. Though there are some opportunities for strategy within the game of Yahtzee, much of the game comes down to luck, which can take some of the pressure off of dementia patients without taking away the mentally stimulating benefits. 

If the patient is living in the advanced stages of dementia or hasn’t played Yahtzee before, they may have difficulty reading the dice or keeping their own scorecard. However, if Yahtzee is a familiar game to them, this enjoyable activity could be a great way to keep a dementia patient’s mind active while connecting them to their past.

5. Snakes and Ladders

Another one of the best board games for dementia patients is Snakes and Ladders, a classic game that the patient will likely remember playing in their youth. 

Snakes and Ladders boards tend to be very colorful and easy to understand, which makes them a good option for dementia patients at a variety of stages. The game also comes in different editions designed for different ages of players — the preschool editions of Snakes and Ladders tend to be even more clearly designed and colorful. 

As an added bonus, this game is a great way for dementia patients to enjoy time spent with grandkids!

6. 20 Questions

20 Questions is an unlikely contender for the best board games for dementia patients. Though this game doesn’t usually have any colorful or easy-to-read boards or pieces, it can be a useful tool to help those with dementia stay connected to their memories. 

During the battle with dementia, patients can often become frustrated when it becomes difficult to remember things that were once easy to recall. With a game of 20 Questions, you can help your loved one dive deeper into the memories they still have, helping to preserve them while increasing their sense of confidence.

Activities and Board Games to Avoid for Dementia Patients

As you’re using board games to connect with a dementia patient and keep their mind stimulated, make sure to avoid games that might make them frustrated or feel pressure. These could include complex strategy games, time-based games, physically demanding games, or games they aren’t familiar with.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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