Memory Games for Seniors

CoveredThe Best Memory Games for Seniors

Posted by Chris Corrigall at April 3, 2014 in Healthy Aging

Many seniors know the benefits of exercising the body, but there are many good reasons to encourage your loved one to exercise their brain as well. With dementia and cognitive decline becoming major concerns in senior wellbeing, learning to improve brain health is as important as ever – and one of the best ways to help your loved one get started is by having them play memory games.

Lumosity

Researchers at Harvard and Stanford universities as well as the University of California, Berkeley, have all used Lumosity, an online memory training program, in their studies about cognitive decline. The designers of the game site state that 97 percent of participants can improve their memory after just 10 hours of Lumosity play time, according to ABC News. To personalize the games chosen, each user is asked questions that are specifically geared toward cognitive processes to find their strengths and weaknesses.

Sudoku

This is one of the most popular brain training games for seniors, as it allows individuals to differentiate patterns using problem solving and logical processes. As we get older, our senses may dull because we become used to solving the same types of problems over and over again. This can cause the brain to become “burnt out” or stagnant. With Sudoku, new deductions can be made because the brain uses synapses that allow seniors to fill in gaps. It’s a very simple and easy-to-understand game that almost anyone can pick up, which could also account for its popularity.

The Right Word

This timed memory game, which is available for free on the AARP website, tests memory and language skills by listing a series of definitions and having players come up with the right term. Although it may sound simple enough, there are many definitions that could relate to multiple words. After going through several definitions, your loved one will then be instructed to recall the words that were given, whether or not they answered the questions correctly.

Crossword puzzles and word searches

If your loved one likes more traditional memory games, that’s OK too. There are several great tactile games that help improve memory and cognitive skills. Even if they can’t solve the whole puzzle in one sitting, setting aside some time to work through several clues can help jog their memory and keep their brain balanced. Likewise, word searches can also foster short-term memory skills and increase his analytical processes.

The key with any brain game is making it a daily habit. Because our neurons tend to dull over time, it is essential that these games are played on a regular basis to see the best benefits.

Speech Therapy Activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

flag.jpgLet Freedom Ring!

By Lindsey M.S., CCC-SLP

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (in the U.S.) represents bravery, freedom, equality, respect, and unity. This is a great time to talk about anti-bullying, embracing differences, and standing up for what is right.

Here are some quick facts about Martin Luther King Jr.:

  • He was born in January of 1929
  • He graduated from high school at the age of 15
  • He was originally named Michael, but as a child his father changed his name to Martin-Luther King
  • He received a college degree (BA) at the age of 19
  • He married Coretta Scott and they had 4 children
  • At the age of 26 he led a bus boycott, which caught the attention of the nation
  • His house was bombed and he received many violent threats and was even imprisoned
  • He was a pastor in the baptist church
  • His non-violent protests and bus boycott resulted in the outlawing of segregation in public accommodations and discrimination in education and employment
  • He led a march which played an important role in giving equal voting rights for African Americans
  • He was assassinated in 1968
  • The first Federal Martin Luther King Day was Celebrated in 1986

For more kid friendly information we recommend the book “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Acquaint your students/children with the story. You can tailor the facts to the appropriate age.

Here are some follow-up activities to choose from:

Receptive Language


1. WH Questions

First you ask the WH questions.

  • Who was Martin Luther King?
  • Where did he live?
  • What did he believe?
  • Why was he so important?

Then switch roles and have the kids ask you WH questions.

2. Three Fact Game

Give three statements. Two that are true and one that is false. Have your children identify the false statement.

 

Expressive Language


3. Story Retell

Have the children retell the story after watching an informational video on YouTube. It may be helpful to use the video during retell by muting the volume and pushing pause on pictures to assist with recall.

4. Build Vocabulary

Give the child a word and ask them to formulate sentences around the word. You can use sentences strips and have them fill in the blank, or just do this as a verbal activity.

Examples:

Equality

 “MLK wanted ________ for all people.”

Unity

 “MLK believed in bringing people together in _______.”

Boycott

“MLK asked African-Americans to ______ public transportation.”

Protest

“MLK believed in non-violent ______.”

Courage

“It takes a lot of ______ to stand up against a crowd.”

Discriminated

“MLK did not want anybody to be _______ for being different.”

Freedom

“MLK was fighting for our _______.”

5. Paper Hand

Trace the child’s hand. In each finger write a freedom they enjoy.

6. Timeline Sequencing

Using the dates and information on this website, help the students/children create their own time line. Then have them retell the information in proper sequence.

7. Paper Bag Categorizing

You will need two brown lunch bags and the following sentence strips which you can print out here:

Discrimination

African Americans are not allowed to vote.
African-Americans must sit in the back of the bus.
African-Americans must drink from different drinking fountains.
African-Americans are segregated in the schools and work places.

Equality

Everybody over the age of 18 is allowed to vote.
African-Americans are allowed to sit wherever they want on the bus.
Schools are no longer segregated and everyone is allowed to attend.
African-Americans may use the same restrooms and drinking fountains as everyone else.

On one bag write the word “DISCRIMINATION” with a frowny face.

On the other bag write the word “EQUALITY” with a smiley face.

The children will place the word strips in the proper bag.

8. Compare and Contrast People

No two people are alike! We are all different and that is what makes this world beautiful.

Show the children two pictures of people from a magazine or from the internet, side by side. First discuss or write what makes the people the SAME. Then what makes them DIFFERENT.

Similarities/differences could include hair color, gender, facial expressions, eye color, age, etc.

Using your computer, phone, tablet, or camera take a picture of the child/ren. They will love seeing themselves on the computer or tablet.

Talk about their great features and what makes them the same/different from their family members, friends, or magazine pictures.

Hope you enjoy!

Writing Activity

Noodle Knock Down Game for Writing Prompts

This quick activity can be used each time you get a writing sample for progress monitoring and can even be used as a reward after your child completes their writing sample if time allows.

You can use different materials to accomplish the same goal, such as bean bags and soda cans or bottles, but I prefer the shower poufs and pool noodles because they are cheap, quiet, and lightweight.

Materials:
These can be found at most dollar stores.

  • 1 pool noodle
  • 3 shower poufs
  • serrated knife
  • permanent marker

What to do:

  1. Cut the pool noodle into pieces about 6 inches long with a serrated knife.
  2. Mark each noodle piece with a number using a permanent marker (optional).

How to play:

  1. Set up the pool noodles on the end of the table or on the floor.
  2. Display three writing prompts, numbered one to three, on a board or other location where the students can see them.
  3. Have the students each throw three shower poufs at the pool noodle pieces, aiming for the ones with numbers that match the prompts they like the most.
  4. The students then choose from the writing prompts that correspond to the numbers on the noodle pieces that they knocked over. For example, if a student knocked over pool noodles #2 and #3, he gets to pick either writing prompt #2 or #3.
  5. If a student doesn’t knock over any pool noodles, you can give him more throws until he hits one or just assign him writing prompt #1.

Example Writing Prompts:

  • Share a story about something you did this winter break. Remember to include details that answer who, what, when, where, and why questions.
  • If you were a teacher, where would you take your class on a field trip? Tell about what your students would see and learn there.
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? Explain how you would use your superpower.
  • Describe what type of location you would like to live in when you grow up (e.g., near the beach, in the mountains, in the country, near a big city, etc.).