Playing nursing home games for seniors helps residents to exercise their physical and mental abilities, as well as build relationships and socialize. Encourage game playing and get seniors involved in stimulating and challenging games they can play together in order to facilitate fun, as well as mental stimulation.
Nursing Home Games
There are a number of traditional and creative games that can easily be played by the residents of nursing homes. Implementing games can be as simple as creating a schedule and having the tools that seniors will need to play (such as decks of cards). Many seniors will have played these games for a lifetime and will enjoy the memories they bring. Others will be new game players and will benefit from learning a new skill.
Here are some of the most popular options for nursing home games:
Playing cards is a lifelong pursuit that keeps the mind working and offers a healthy dose of competition. Most nursing homes and senior centers offer some type of card games to residents. Make sure that the card decks are accessible to as many residents as possible by making sure there are a few large print editions available. Having a few automatic shufflers on hand can also help with residents who have arthritis.Some good card games for nursing home residents include:
- Rummy and gin rummy
Board games are another good option to have at nursing homes. These games keep players on their toes and offer a different challenge with each game. Board games also offer a sense of nostalgia and can help trigger memories.
- Bingo. Try a game of musical bingo to incorporate songs into the bingo playing, which is a fun twist on classic bingo.
- Connect Four
- Chess and Checkers
A good puzzle gives the mind a great challenge, while also offering reward for getting the pieces just right and creating a picture in the process. Puzzles can include both brain teasers and wooden puzzles that can be completed over a period of time. Try puzzles that are different shapes and sizes. Here are some options for good puzzles to purchase:
- Puzzles with big pieces are helpful for seniors who might have shaky hands.
- Large Print Sudoku
- Large Print Crosswords
Another idea for nursing home games is to give participants something concrete to do for a certain amount of time. This is an option for seniors who may not be able to participate in complicated games, or may not have the visual ability to see a puzzle anymore; these activities offer the important benefit of being accessible to the largest possible group of nursing home residents. The goal of the game might be to simply hold and look at the object or to do something with it. Here are some ways to make this work:
- Give a resident a squeeze ball or Rubik's Cube to play with.
- Arranging flowers in vases
- Folding handkerchiefs or linen napkins
Keep Seniors Playing Games
Don't underestimate the competitiveness and abilities of seniors. They can give each other and staff members a run for their money. Even residents who may seem, at first glance, very withdrawn, can become enthusiastic participants in senior games and activities. Seniors who play games often will enjoy a little friendly competition and look forward to the process of learning and trying to master games.