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Suggestions of Games to Play With Geriatric Patients

by CraigF

Geriatric patients benefit from their caregivers keeping them stimulated. Doing so helps to prevent deterioration of mind and body. It is very useful to have them partake in some games and activities that can also be fun and rewarding.

Dice And Grab Bag

This game can be played by a small group of two to three or as many as 10 patients. You will need six bags, which you should number, a prize in each bag, and two sets of dice. Each patient gets a turn at rolling the dice. If they roll the same number on both sets of dice, they win a prize. To add a competitive element, the next person rolling after the winner can attempt to "steal" the prize if they roll the exact same number. This is a good game for getting patients to interact and have fun with each other. It can also help their hand-eye coordination.

What's In The Box?

Another game can be played with any number of patients. Have everyone sit in a circle. One by one, pull out different types of sports balls--such as a football, soccer ball, tennis ball, hockey puck, shuttlecock--from a box. Pass them around the circle, one by one. Ask patients to describe the feeling of the ball, including weight, size, and any distinguishing features. Encourage them to start a discussion on each ball. The point is to get them interacting and to give them a chance to reminisce about their pasts. It can also help in maintaining sensory awareness in some patients.

Card Games

Card and board games are fun activities beneficial to those with low mobility. Classic games, such as blackjack, can be set up for groups or pairs, of seniors to play. Though relatively simple, they still require thought and concentration, which helps keep the mind active. There is also a game called "Card Bingo," in which each patient receives five cards and turns them over one by one when the card face is read out. The first person to have all their cards turned over is the winner.

Animal Games

According to Anthrozoology.org, studies have shown that interaction with animals can help patients who have recently experienced a downturn in their quality of life. You can take patients outside to play with the animals--for example, playing fetch with a type of sports ball. It can help with blood pressure and heartrate, while decreasing the symptoms of depression. Also, patients who are still mobile will benefit from exercise, as it improves blood flow oxygenation to the brain.

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