Follow
Share

So Grandma loves to play games (board, tile, card) and could play all day everyday. In 2014, before she moved into an ALF (she now lives with me), she was playing fairly difficult and strategic board games with me. When she moved in the ALF, there was no room to play these games. So Grandma didn't play some of them for a whole year.

Now when we play games, she doesn't want to play any of the difficult board games. She only wants to play easy, mindless games like Rummy and Dominoes. I don't mind playing those every once in a while, but they bore the crap out of me and I can't play them all the time. I can sometimes get her to play some of the less complicated of the difficult board games and the more we play, the better she gets at them.

My main question is this: Isn't it better to get her to play games that require more thought, strategy, and concentration than easy, mindless games? I like to think that these board games challenge her brain and help keep it sharp. So should I try to get her to play these games even if she doesn't want to? I sometimes tell her she gets a treat if she makes an effort to play them. That usually helps. But I don't know if I'm doing the wrong thing. What do you all think?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I think you should play only games she is comfortable with. I am 85 and have never enjoyed board games or jigsaw puzzles, two of the popular activities in the independent living facility where I live. Ask grandma what she would enjoy doing.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

mejjy11, how old is Grandma?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks for the responses.
I think she can play most of these challenging games, she just needs to relearn some aspects of them. With the one game, I had to help her the whole time, but then she got the hang of it and does well on her own now.

Part of my issue is that she is capable of playing these games, she just needs a little help at first. But she's gotten to a point where she doesn't want to have to think or work her brain. Yet, she acknowledges that thinking is good for the brain. She's says she's just lazy. I'm not sure what to do with that.

We usually play a challenging game followed by easy games. We might play one or two challenging games a week. It just depends on the game and the time. It's weird because back before she went into assisted living, I'd visit once or twice a month for a whole day (about 12 hours or so) and we'd spend the whole day playing these challenging games with no problems. I can't believe how much has changed in a year. It's so strange.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Playing challenging games can be good for the brain, but only if they can be played successfully. Being challenged beyond one's limit is discouraging and not helpful.

My mother used to be an awesome cribbage player. When she first moved into the NH we could play that with her when we visited. But it gradually became evident that while she still wanted to play cards it was too frustrating for her. One sister played War with her, and Go Fish. Interacting with someone over a deck of cards was what she really wanted. My mother had dementia and I see that your Gram has mobility issues. It is possible that your Gram will relearn the games she used to like, but I definitely wouldn't bribe her or give the impression she needs to do this to please you.

My husband had the kind of dementia where cognition fluctuates widely. We had one single-person board game that I found moderately challenging. He could not have done it alone, but we did it together. But if it became apparent he was having an "off" time in his cognition I stopped the game, claiming to just not being up to it right now.

Yes, it can be very boring to do simple-minded things with people who are elderly and impaired. But I think it is part of caregiving. Not every waking moment, of course, but occasionaly. Sometimes! I colored with my mom. Not exactly stimulating to me, but I accepted it as relaxing. One sister looked through magazines with her.

"Isn't it better to get her to play games that require more thought, strategy, and concentration than easy, mindless games?" Well, only if she can do so successfully. The pleasure of spending time with you and doing something she enjoys probably outweighs the benefits of cognitive stimulation.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think it can be helpful and stimulating to play the more challenging games, but only if your GM can work up to it.

Remember that she had to adjust to a totally different living environment, didn't play games for a year, and probably lost some of the edge she had in playing the more complex games before.

If she's not comfortable, don't push her but do start at an easier level and try to work up to more complex ones.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

There's nothing wrong in telling here that you are tired of dominos and would like to play something else occasionally. Just be careful you aren't making her feel that this is the price she has to pay for you to spend time with her, there is a fine line between encouragement and coercion.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.