The growing age comes with many complications, both physical and mental. While physical disorders are common and openly discussed, cases of memory disorders in senior citizens are also not rare. With the onset of age, the chances of memory disorders go up significantly. A habit of forgetfulness that we commonly associate with senior citizens and often discount as normal consequences of growing age may be initial signs of memory loss and brain disorders. This can range from mild cognitive impairment to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Memory disorder can be challenging for the patients as well as caregivers. The patient may find it difficult to carry out daily activities, maintain communication, or learn new skills. Staying mentally active and receiving appropriate mental health care is seen to slow down the progression of dementia. These activities can vary according to a person’s likes, preferences, and the nature and degree of memory. Still, they have a clear goal of achieving the emotional and mental well-being of the person.
What to look for before selecting an activity for seniors with memory ailments?
Identifying an engaging activity that simulates the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a senior citizen is crucial. Multiple factors must be reflected upon before selecting suitable games and activities. A few things to remember include the senior’s physical limitations, type of activity – group or self, daily routine, likes and dislikes, medical history, etc. A significant consequence of memory conditions in seniors is that it impacts their emotional well-being. Thus, special care needs to be taken so that these activities do not trigger anxiety or panic attacks, instigate anger or depression (typical symptoms of memory disorders), and also not tap into something unpleasant for them (past memory or traumas).
A fun cognitive activity for senior citizens should focus on creativity, sensory stimulation, building social connections, and memory stimulation. These activities have been shown to reduce the dependency on medications in many seniors.
7 Best Fun Activities for Seniors
1. Listening to Music: Music can play a vital role in the mental well-being of senior citizens. Besides its calming effect, it can also trigger long forgotten memories, reminding them of their best days. An individual who appreciates music has been found to enjoy music in cases even when other senses have faltered. Creating a mixtape of their favourite songs from their youth and childhood can be an excellent idea.
2. Photographs & family albums: A book full of images of their loved ones and their happy days can be very soothing. Engaging senior citizens with memory issues in creating a scrapbook or album they may decorate as to their wish using colour pens & markers can help stimulate creativity and memory. Photographs, when paired with arts and crafts, will occupy them and provide them with a sense of achievement when completing this activity.
3. Outdoor walks: Being out in the open and amidst nature is a calming activity. Walks in the park or a tour through the zoo can be fun for seniors with memory issues. Indoor activities can sometimes feel cooped up, and being out in the open allows seniors to relive youth.
4. Gardening / Cooking: Getting engaged in a routine activity such as gardening or cooking can stimulate a feeling of self-sufficiency in seniors. Seniors with mental problems often depend on caregivers for minor needs; in such situations, a sense of self-reliance can invigorate pleasant emotions. Moreover, routine activities also provide them with daily chores that they can accomplish. Tending to plants or gardening also incorporates parental feelings.
5. Puzzles and Trivia: A simple set of puzzles or quizzes are also beneficial fun activities for senior citizens with mild memory disorders. Puzzles and quizzes encourage spatial reasoning and problem-solving. Moreover, if there are resources to make these puzzles as personal as they can be – like a photograph puzzle – it can initiate multiple positive emotions.
6. Visit pet stores/pet animals: Being in the presence of animals, usual or medical care animals, is a therapeutic experience for senior citizens. These animals, just like the senior citizens, would appreciate unconditional love. Moreover, this could also provide seniors with a caregiving opportunity. Keeping a therapy animal as a pet can also benefit senior citizens who live alone.
7. Group games: An activity that specially caters to seniors with memory issues can be planned and programmed. This will provide adults with a healthy sense of competitiveness while frolicking. Simple games like cards, checkers, or bingo are a natural source of engagement.
Senior citizens with memory disorders deserve and require activities that invigorate a feeling of fun while simultaneously lessening the unpleasant symptoms of memory disorders. These activities dedicate their time to frolic while simulating senses, emotions, and creativity. Sometimes, they will have to reduce medication dependency. They take away the unpleasant hours of loneliness, solitude, anger, and anxiety and barter them with nostalgia, belongingness, affection, and achievement.
Do memory games help dementia?
Yes, memory games have been found to have benefits for people with dementia. In the early stages of dementia, the matches reduce dependence on medications and stimulate cognitive well-being.
What kind of game is good for the brain?
Games focusing on sensory and mental simulations are suitable for senior citizens’ brains. These include games like chess, cards, quiz or puzzles, etc