Anything But Bingo

Resources to enhance the daily life of people living with dementia

5 simple cards games for someone living with dementia 

If there is a pack of cards to hand then there are a multitude of games to be played. Like jokes, I can never remember a card game when I need one so this post is in no way altruistic; it is a list that I know I will use myself. Adapt each games as you need to, if you have the luxury of an extra person encourage them to assist the player with dementia as much or as little as is necessary. Sometimes all that is required is a gentle but regular reminder of the rules or to keep an eye on whose turn it is.

If the person you are playing with has a poor sight you might want to invest in some large print playing cards or extra large playing cards.

 

If holding a bunch of cards has become difficult you can get attractive wooden card holders

Snap

Of course the most simple and well known game. You can play this with 2-multiple players. The dealer deals the entire pack of cards out face down between all the players. Then, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, and in turn, each person lays down the top card from their pile into a new pile (the discard pile) in the centre of the table. If the card being laid matches the card laid down by the previous player all players must say "Snap". The first person to say "snap" wins all the cards in the discard pile and play starts again. The winner is the player who collects all the cards.

 

Go Fish

The dealer deals all the cards.  If there are two or three players, each player is dealt seven cards. If there are more people taking part, each player is dealt five cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in a pile. This is the “fish pond.”

Each player sorts their cards into groups of the same number or suit (i.e. group of threes or group of kings), making sure not to show anyone. The person to the left of the dealer starts the game by asking any another player for cards that will match his hand. For example, if they have two threes, she will ask the other player for threes. If the other player has these cards, he must hand them over. The same person continues asking the same player for more cards until the player does not have the cards he wants. If the player does not have the right cards, he can tell the requester to “Go fish.” The requester then has to take one card from the “fish pond.” The player who told him to “Go fish” becomes the new requester.

Anyone who collects all four cards of a set (i.e. all four eights or all four Queens) puts them face down in front of him. The winner is the first person to have no single cards left, only complete sets. If two people run out of cards together, the player with the most sets wins the game.

 

War

This is a two player game. All cards are dealt to the two players and kept face down. Neither player must look at their cards. Both players turn over the top card of their piles and put them face up in the centre of the table, beside the other player’s card. Whoever has turned over the highest ranking card takes both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile. This continues until two cards of the same value (i.e. two sevens) are put down together. The game is now in a state of “war.” To continue, both players take two new cards and put one face down on top of the card they have already placed in the middle and one face up. Whoever puts down the higher ranking face up card wins all six. The game is won by the player who collects all of the cards.

 

Beggar my Neighbour

Deal out all the cards between the two players.

Each player takes it in turns to turn one over from the top of their pile and put it on the table between them (as with snap!) If you turn over a Jack, Queen, King or Ace, the other player must put down more cards as follows:

Jack - one card
Queen - two cards
King - three cards
Ace - four cards

If no picture cards are turned over whilst this "payment" is being made, you collect all the cards from the table and put them at the bottom of your pile.
However, if a picture card WAS turned over, your opponent immediately stops their 'pay out' of cards, and YOU have to pay them by putting down one, two, three or four cards, according to the rank, as above.

The winner is the player who collects all the cards.

I would recommend printing / writing out the "payments" as a visual reminder during the game.

 

Pelmenism / Concentration / Match

Maybe not a card game in the truest sense of the word but even so, one worth mentioning. There are some nice, adult themed match games on the market, or if you are feeling creative you could make your own.

            

You place all the cards face down on the table and each playing takes a turn to turn over two cards. If they match the player keeps the matching pair. If the cards don't match the player must place the cards back down on the table in the same place. The aim of the game is to remember which cards your opponents turn over and where they are so that you can match pairs when it is your turn to play.

This game can be adapted to the short term memory impairment of the people playing by reducing the number of cards you use.

 

Enjoy playing!

 

 

Posted by Jenny Trott Saturday, January 02, 2016 5:40:00 PM Categories: Activities Games Toys

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN 

I love matching activities for people living with dementia; you can use things you have around the house or be more creative if you have the time (and means), and you can tailor them to an individuals interests. As with many of my activity ideas, matching tasks are good for someone who's dementia is at a stage when they are finding it difficult to fill their time and would rather sit and do nothing rather than try to complete tasks they might have once found satisfying and fullfilling. Tasks such as these can be a relatively easy way to provide distraction and be a meaningful way to keep the brain active and mind occupied.

Why do matching activities work?

  • I'm no academic but, from what I have seen in practice, matching games can be a good way to engage someone who is looking for some brain stutimulation but who's abilities have declined such that they can't manage more complex challenges.
  • Matching activities are by design done by an individual rather than group and so they remove any anxieties about "getting it right" in front of others, or indeed can be done in your home with minimal support.
  • As I suggested above matching activites can be entirely personalised. Making sure an activity holds some interest for the person rather than being a meaningless task can help to improve their levels of engagement, maybe also promoting conversation alongside the activity.

 

You can use things around the house

Matching socks, finding the right lid for each bottle, sorting cutlery into a cutlery tray. All these things can be found in your own home. If you are finding it difficult to persuade the person living with dementia to begin the task I might suggest it is a job that needs to be done and that it "would be a great help if you would sort these things out for me".

 

 

You can be creative

A great way to personalise a matching task is to use a topic of interest for the indivudal. For example one of the ladies I have worked with loved butterflies. I had discovered this whilst looking though a wildlife magazine with her one day. Using that knowledge I was able to make her a butterfly matching game as you see here.

 

I have also made a more complex spot matching game; this involved not just matching one colour but three. I had been worried that it was too complicated but with some guidance and support it was achievable by some of my clients, and those that did finish it had a great sense of achievement afterwards!

I made the butterfly and spot games on the computer, putting photos or shapes into a Word document, printing them and laminating. But don't let that put you off making one yourself, you could also make games using pictures cut out from magazines, or even drawing shapes onto paper.

This key matching game is made from a selection of keys kindly donated from a key cutting shop and drawing round them on a sheet of paper.

I have included PDF printables of the spot game below, so feel free to make one yourself and give it a go. Let me know how it works.

More ideas

Match object to photos; take photos of small objects around the house (e.g. a button, cotton reel, wooden spoon, golf ball etc) and then print them out. Keep the objects and photos together and ask the person to put the correct item with it's photograph.

Match halves of playing cards; cut a pack of playing cards in half and ask the person to put the halfs side by side again. Depending on their abilities it may be an idea to only present a small collection of cards - the entire 52 card pack might be too overwhelming!

Match fabric scraps; if sewing is of interest and you can lay your hands on some scraps of fabric you can cut the scraps into two pieces and ask the person to find the matching piece.

Colour matching; paint colour samples are freely available at DIY stores. If you can get hold of some pegs too you can easily make a colour matching game.

 

I am interested to hear your feedback on my ideas and also if they have worked for you, so please do comment below.

 

Game Set Match.

 

Printable spot game PDF

 

 

Posted by Jenny Trott Tuesday, August 18, 2015 3:37:00 PM Categories: Activities Advanced dementia Alzheimers Daily tasks Games Montessori

               Who am I?

 

Jenny

I am a forty-something mother of two.

I love learning and creating, and do

what I can to improve the well-being

of people living with dementia.

I have worked in residential dementia

care for a few years and hope that I

have something useful to share.

 

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