By: Fabiana Bermann
Covid 19 is still prevalent and should be taken seriously. However, as more and more of society gets vaccinated, I’ve noticed family, friends and seniors are itching to find social release from their self-imposed prison – their home. Our clients want to go out and interact but be safe at the same time.
Our clients are looking to get together with small groups of friends, no more than 6 at a time. The easing of Covid 19 restrictions coupled with the high vaccination rate among seniors, they are ok meeting indoors.
So what is a Coivid fatigued senior to do? To steal a quote from the movie War Games ‘Care to play a game?’ Game playing is a great pastime and it comes with many benefits. Yes, it is an enjoyable way to spend time with friends but playing games, putting together puzzles or tackling crosswords helps stimulate the cerebellum and hippocampus, which play crucial roles in short and long-term memory, motor control and balance. And I thought it was simply a game.
Below are board games and card games seniors can play and love to play. Most of our clients know these games but they may no longer be top of mind and shelved the past 14 months or so.
We searched high and low, we went through our closets and our parents closets and found few great games for our friends and clients. We even included online information for our clients and friends who still wish to remain in their homes:
5 Board Games for Seniors
Playing board games teaches strategic thinking, problem-solving, and short-term memory. In addition, a British Medical Journal study found that dementia was 15% less likely to appear in board game players compared to non-board game players, showing these activities might help prevent cognitive decline.
Here are several board games you might enjoy playing with a friend, family member, or caregiver:
1. Scrabble: Scrabble helps improve spelling, vocabulary, and word retrieval — which can often decline as you age. If you're looking for an online version, Words With Friends is a smartphone app you can play against your friends.
2. Monopoly: Monopoly teaches the basics of trading and negotiation and is a fun game to play at any age. BoardGamesOnline.com offers "RENTO" or an online Monopoly game, for free — which you can play solo or with friends.
3. Chess and checkers: Chess and checkers are two fun activities to play for older adults. Plus, unlike other board games, you only need two players to play. Online Board Games offers a smartphone app where you can play either game with friends.
4. Yahtzee: This classic board and dice game is fun to play with one other friend or a group. Download the Yahtzee with Buddies Dice app to play on your phone against your friends or to compete in daily tournaments.
5. Cranium: Cranium involves traveling around a game board and stretching your cognitive skills with puzzles and challenges. While there isn't an online version of Cranium, you can arrange a game with friends using Zoom, Google Hangouts, or the HouseParty app.
5 Card Games for Seniors
Card games are great activities for seniors, as they provide social interaction while testing your critical thinking skills. Older adults who play card games show less cognitive decline in the 70s, as written by US News and World Report. In fact, playing card games might help improve brain health and slow the onset of Alzheimer's.
Here are several card games you can play with friends or online:
1. Solitaire: Solitaire is a simple game you can play on your own. Many computers come with Solitaire already installed, or you can play online.
2. Crazy Eights: If you have a deck of cards and a friend, you can spend an afternoon playing Crazy Eights. PlayingCards.io allows you to share a link to your card game with loved ones, so you can play together online.
3. Rummy: Rummy is a great indoor game to enjoy — plus, you only need one other player. PlayRummy-Online offers an online version to play, either with friends or with strangers.
4. UNO!: UNO! can be played with anywhere between two to 10 players. To play on your smartphone, you can download the UNO! app. Simply click on the "social" button on your screen to text your game link to a group of friends.
5. Bridge: Bridge is a classic card game that's been around since the 1920s. To play online, try BridgeBase.com, which offers free, unlimited Bridge games between you and their larger community.
6. Canasta: Personal favorite as we play almost every Sunday with my in-laws and I can personally attest to how card playing improves memory as my mother-in-law has memory issues for everything except when we start playing canasta, then watch out.
So let’s get our loved ones out and about and into the sunshine of summer. We can help improve their quality of life and bring smiles to their faces.