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Displaying items by tag: holiday

Thursday, December 09, 2021 16:10

Festive Games to Stimulate Senior Minds

During the holidays as we gather with family, young and old alike, we may feel concern for a senior family member who is showing signs of difficulty with memory and cognition. While there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, the leading cause of dementia, engaging your elderly loved one in “brain games” can help to protect brain function, lower the risk for, and even slow the progression of dementia. So, put on your ugly holiday sweaters and gather everyone ‘round for these festive holiday games to stimulate thinking, cognition, recall, and problem-solving. 

Holiday Themed Games for Seniors

Holiday-themed Word Search

Crossword puzzles and other types of word-search games are fantastic activity for sharpening reasoning skills and stimulating multiple areas of the brain. Word searches generally involve using clues to solve a word-puzzle. This stimulates recollection from stored knowledge and memories, uses problem-solving skills, and provides a sense of reward when finding the right word to fit the space. You can find crossword books and games (in the app stores) that cover any theme and are suitable for any level. If your loved one is already struggling with signs of dementia, consider using a crossword designed for school-age children, which will utilize simpler words and clues.

Festive Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are a great activity to do with family members of all ages. This provides your elder family member with a sense of inclusion. Jigsaw puzzles require reasoning, problem-solving skills, and creativity. To personalize jigsaw puzzles, you can have one made of a favorite family photo or destination that is meaningful to your senior. Imagine their joy to put together a puzzle depicting a happy memory! This can spark conversation about the “time when” or the events that are associated with the photo. And don’t forget the many other types of puzzle games… from Rubik’s Cube to Sudoku!

Board Games

Plenty of board games have holiday twists to them… we’ve listed a few below. Much like jigsaw puzzles, playing board games stimulates multiple brain functions:  recall, retention, formation of new memories, problem-solving, use of logic (and wit), creativity, and much more. Also, games with two or more players reinforce social skills, communication skills, and collaboration. 

Here are just a few games that you can find through a quick search online:

  • Christmasopoly - You guessed it… the Christmas version of Monopoly.
  • Dreidel Roulette takes a fun spin on a traditional Hannukah game.
  • Diwali Bingo introduces you to the meaning of the Hindi Festival of Lights in entertaining fashion.
  • Any Reindeer Game is a board game that the young and old will enjoy—and up to 10 people can play!

Though this may not sound like a big deal, fun games like these can improve a senior’s cognitive function. Try them out with your loved one and see what they like best. Everyone has different preferences. 

Many other board games have holiday themes, based on the beautiful range of holiday spiritual traditions from around the globe; others have a festive take on a popular game. Many games that were once only board games also have counterparts for mobile devices and are suitable for multiple players. If your elder loved one is savvy with a smart phone, they can play Monopoly, Life, Battleship, and the online platform Luminosity is a popular brain training game site.

Signs of Concern for Memory Decline in an Elderly Loved One

While you are spending time with your elderly loved one, keep tabs on how they are functioning. The following are just a few of the signs that may raise concern about memory decline or dementia in seniors:

  • Difficulty with everyday tasks, like following directions.
  • Trouble paying attention and/or following a conversation.
  • Repeating stories or asking the same questions multiple times.
  • Personality changes that make you think “this really is not the same person I knew.”
  • Confusion about time, place, or order of events/tasks.
  • Acting out in ways that are not typical, such as angry outbursts.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.

Is it Time for Memory Care for Your Elderly Loved One?

If you’ve observed your elderly family is struggling with age-related memory decline, it’s time for a  thorough medical evaluation and consideration as to whether or not it is best for them to remain living on their own or in a family member’s care. The ongoing care of someone who is in cognitive decline requires a tremendous commitment of time and resources emotionally, mentally, and financially.

Have you asked yourself:  Is now the time for compassionate memory care arrangements for my loved one? 

At Everbrook Senior Living Communities, we provide a range of high-quality, compassionate care to support the social, emotional, and physical needs of older adults at every stage of later life. Our residents—your loved one—is considered an extended member of our own family. Through our Memory Care Program we provided enhanced support and specialized services to address memory impairment, while the caregivers need to revitalize their own lives so that the time they spend with their afflicted loved one is of high quality.

Every aspect of the Everbrook Memory Care Program is designed using evidence-based research combined with personalized care and services delivered by well-trained professional medical and attentive support staff. 

If you feel that your loved one is ready for memory care, you can speak with an Everbrook community advocate right from our website. Our advocates provide compassionate guidance to help you make the best choice for your elder family member. 

Ready to visit? Schedule an on-site tour of an Everbrook Community.  

Sources

3 Cognitive Games for Seniors that You Have to Try” Port St. Lucie Hospital Blog 

The Best Free and Paid Games for Seniors”  Sixty&Me Blog

Brain Health Initiative Newsletters  (presented by Harvard Health)

Published in Memory Care

The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of year for our elderly loved ones. Do you know how to recognize the concerning signs that can indicate your older adult family member is struggling with more than just the holiday blues?

There are several reasons why an elderly family member may experience sadness around the holidays, any of which can be a common part of growing older:

  • Widowed within the past year or previous loss of a partner during the holidays
  • Caretaking for a partner in declining health
  • Coping with their own declining health
  • Loss of the ability to drive or other forms of personal independence
  • Changes in their ability to care for themselves (bathing, household chores)
  • Coping with the death of close friends/family members to COVID-19 and other illness

Grieving over any type of loss and the range of emotions that comes with it is to be expected and it varies by person. However, when grief, sadness, despondency, or other difficult emotions are prolonged and interfere with a senior’s day-to-day vitality, they may be suffering from depression.

More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. Depression in seniors can be recognized by concerning signs, such as

  • Not keeping-up the cleanliness of their home environment. Or, if living with you, not keeping their room and personal effects well-maintained.
  • Finding unpaid bills or unopened mail. Receipt of debt collection notices.
  • Noticing that they have lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight.
  • Changes to their eating habits. (forgetting they ate, eating less)
  • Noticing they are not taking prescribed medications. 
  • Avoiding people, loss of interest or enthusiasm for usual activities.
  • Noticeable personality changes, mood swings, or irritability for no apparent reason.
  • Reacting out of proportion to a circumstance.
  • Hearing them be overly critical about or dismissing holiday celebrations/obligations.
  • Noticeable changes in their mobility, balance, or thought process.

Perhaps you have taken steps to address some of these concerning signs:

  • You’ve kept in touch by phone, mail, email and text
  • Encouraged and even arranged for social activities, friendly visits, or home care
  • Helped them explore former and new hobbies, and shared in them together
  • Arranged a support community through local organizations or a type of home care

If the concerning signs you’ve observed in your elderly family member have not improved, then they may be experiencing more than just the holiday blues. Your older-adult family member may have clinical depression—it may be more than they or you can handle on your own. 

You may be asking yourself: Is it time for compassionate assisted living care for my elderly loved one? 

At each of the Everbrook Senior Living Communities, we provide a range of high-quality, compassionate care to support the social, emotional, and physical needs of older adults at every stage of later life. Our residents—your loved one—is considered an extended member of our own family. Through our Assisted Living Program we provided “life at home, with a little help.” We design every aspect of the assisted living program using evidence-based research combined with personalized care and services delivered by well-trained professional medical and community staff. We continually evaluate and implement an up-to-date menu of services to meet the needs of your loved one. It is our passion for service excellence that places each of our senior living communities at the very pinnacle of the industry.

If you feel that your loved one is ready for assisted care, you can speak with an Everbrook community advocate right from our website. Our advocates provide compassionate guidance to help you make the best choice for your elder family member. 

Ready to visit? Schedule an on-site tour of an Everbrook Community. 

Sources

Learn More about Everbrook Assisted Living

Sadovsky, R., “Prevalence and recognition of depression in elderly patients,” American Academy of Family Physicians, 57;5 (1998):1096.

National Institute of Mental Health: 

Depression and Older Adults 

Twitter Chat on Older Adults and Depression

MHANational.org:  Depression and Older Adults: More Facts

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