Seniors with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty engaging in meaningful activities. Their limitations caused by dementia and the effects of Alzheimer’s often lead to an inability to connect with and enjoy their environment as well as those around them. Game playing can be a great way to help senior’s with Alzheimer’s pass the time, while also providing a means of stimulation, memory triggering, and so much more.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive memory loss disease. It starts with mild memory loss, and progresses over the course of years to severe memory loss, so much so that many who suffer from Alzheimer’s can’t distinguish dreams from reality, forget how to talk, eat, and in many cases are unable to respond to their environment. It is the most common form of Dementia, and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. There is no cure, only treatment options and medications to lessen symptoms, and provide comfort to those with the disease.
Being able to engage in meaningful activities can go a long way to lifting the spirits, as well as the cognitive function, of those with Alzheimer’s. However, many activities, including game playing, can be a challenge. Some of the issues that face Alzheimer’s sufferers that can stand in the way of playing games include:
- Problem solving difficulty- games cannot be complex.
- Memory loss- Games have to have short play times and simple rules.
- Difficulty remembering rules- The games have to be familiar, or have simple rules.
- Trouble with spatial relationships- Games cannot require building or activities that require spatial relationships.
- Difficulty reading, judging distance, color, contrast, etc.- They can’t involve cards, suits, etc. Even a game like Phase 10 can be too difficult if the player can’t distinguish colors.
- Difficulty with conversation, struggle with vocabulary- Those with Alzheimer’s often have trouble finding names for even familiar objects, so games can’t require a lot of verbal communication.
- Social withdrawal- Often groups of people can be overwhelming and confusing, as conversations are more difficult to follow, etc. Games have to be single player, or require only a few players to work.
- Difficulty remembering newly learned info- Again, this means rules have to be simple and familiar.
- Difficulty performing tasks that were once simple- Games that require holding cards, a seemingly simple task, can be a real challenge to someone with Alzheimer’s and can lead to more frustration than enjoyment.
- Difficulty with basic tasks- Rolling the dice, following a specific order of play, or exchanging items in play can be difficult.
The R.O.S. Therapy System is a great tool for those looking to provide meaningful and useful activity for their senior loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The tray is the heart of the system, acting as a console that facilitates a variety of activity boards or games. They simply slide in when the user is ready to play, and can be switched out. The boards and console are easy to clean, easy to use, and were designed with the mental and physical limitations of those with dementia in mind.
The R.O.S. Therapy System helps with the socialization, reality testing, cues for reminiscence, tactile, auditory, and visual stimulation, as well as increased avenues toward motivation. Because it can be individualized for clients and patients, it can be used to trigger memories, and stimulate conversation and connection. It offers a chance for increased self-worth, pride and esteem, while also providing an outlet for creative expression as well as fun.