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Games for Cognitive issues
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 2:48 PM
Joined: 12/17/2021
Posts: 5

My sister has problems with cognitive issues along with her AL.  She cannot read a clock, operate small appliances (simplest coffee makker), make $$change, along with many many other issues.  We have a caregiver in the afternoons and evenings as she is more confused at that time of day.  My question is does anyone have suggestion for simple games that she and her caregiver may try to occupy her mind?  I tried dice, cards, scrabble, and any others that I could think of and it simply does not register for her.  She feeds, dresses, baths, does simple household chores like laundry on her own, but I pretty much help with all other things like shopping.  I am basically looking for something to occupy her with the caregiver in afternoons and evenings other than just watching TV.  She does take walks with caregiver, which she enjoys.  Any suggestions are appreciated.
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 3:00 PM
Joined: 6/14/2021
Posts: 529

You might want to try looking at games for very young children.

You might also try printing off some coloring pages and getting her washable crayons or markers.

Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 5:00 PM
Joined: 3/9/2018
Posts: 39

My mom will always say she doesn't want to do a puzzle, but when you dump it on the table and start she joins right in. I stick with puzzles of 50-200 pieces and with larger pieces. 

The other thing she used to enjoy doing but no longer can is "spot the difference" where there are 2 pictures and you have to find the 8 differences between them. The caregivers enjoyed doing these with her as well. 

If you're looking for something to keep her occupied while watching tv, you can always have her sort buttons by color. There were many times I just told her I had dropped the buttons and needed her help assorting them into jars. 

May flowers
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 5:19 PM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 537

My FIL can’t really follow TV anymore, but he is enjoying books on tape - we are listening to Little House on the Prairie series now. Upbeat, easy to follow, and relates to his childhood.

His MC had some fun games, like bingo but with pictures, manicures/pedicures for the ladies, decorating cupcakes, and a game where they finished the saying, like “Two peas in a ___”…


Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 5:30 PM
Joined: 4/18/2022
Posts: 7

I've had the same trials with my sister. She lived with me and I wanted something besides TV for her. Sadly, she was not really able to do any games like we were given from occupational therapy, but there were some activities she enjoyed that might work for you. She liked coloring earlier on, but at her stage now, she really can't stay focused on it. I'll still try it sometimes even if it's just for a few minutes of doing something different. I also got self baking clay- like playdoh but it's white. We'd make little things and she enjoyed the tactile feel of doing it. Early on she could do simple puzzles. She enjoys bubbles- usually I would blow them and she'd watch and reach for them. We'd bat a balloon back and forth which she could do sitting, but still get a little movement. We would do really minor gardening in pots- buy some flowers and transplant, then get to check them and water them ongoing. Looking at photo albums sometimes works and she can be asked stories. I have to limit this though, because she can become fixated on some people (most of whom have passed) and they become part of her delusions and worries. Not a people interaction thing, but I got her one of the mechanical companion pets from She has a cat that purrs, moves (I turned off the meow, because she always thought the cat was distressed). She loves this like it's a real pet, grooms it, pets it, talks with it. It's one of those really odd things- she thinks it's real, tries to feed it food, worries about it getting meals... but also recognized and commented that her batteries needed to be changed. This is a real companion for her and gives her something else to focus on than TV. She also loves the cat and feels loved by her. Best thing I got her! I wish I had more ideas for you. It is so challenging to find activities they can do and enjoy but not stress them out or make them feel like they're not capable.
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 12:10 AM
Joined: 9/11/2020
Posts: 181

When my son (42) was diagnosed with ALZ, early onset, his neurologist recommended an SLP therapist for cognitive therapy.  I had no idea that the person who deals with speech, language, pathology did other things beside work with breathing and swallowing and helping to use speech effectively.

We have been using home exercises the therapist suggests following her work with him, which often is playing games!  Memory games and thinking games. We also have workbooks for adults with ALZ, and you can get them on Amazon.  He can pick out the differences between two similar cartoons. He does very simple word search, a worksheet page may have a simple cartoon and the person has to figure out the name of the figure or thing, often with just 3 letters.  We have the Blink game, cards, which can be played many different ways and by 2 or more people. He also likes the trivia questions and questions where he has to figure out what is "wrong" in a sentence. Coloring was good for a while but now his fingers don't work well with a pencil or marker, so he is doing them on a tablet.

We made it part of his daily routine, so he expects to have these breaks in a long day.  Maybe 1/2 hour at a time, doing 1 or 2 different games or activities.  If he's not focusing, we drop it "for later" and "how about we do this instead".  Keep in mind all this works great IF the caregiver helps to prompt and make it fun.


Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 6:52 AM
Joined: 1/11/2013
Posts: 134

Lots of good suggestions. 

Some that worked for us are coloring - you can find large print coloring books for seniors and even some good coloring books for Alzheimer's with simple phrases on Amazon. 

Watercolor - there are books that come with marker type pens that you fill with water and then the colors fill in themselves as you "color" over it with the pen. There are also watercolor paintings that work the same way with a paintbrush. They are reusable.

Depending on ability level, there are various puzzles and word games that can be worked on together. 

Bingo (lots of variations).

Simple crafts. There are a lot of craft kits to choose from.

Other ideas - Singing/music. Exercises. Pass/throw/tap a balloon; play catch; bean bag toss; indoor bowling game, etc.

You may also have to modify the games you have. Instead of scrabble, maybe you can take some of the tiles and try to form words or match letters. For cards, if she can still read numbers, it may simply be taking turns picking up a card and saying the number you get. Finding matching cards is another good game.

There are a few stores on Amazon that may give you ideas - one is called Relish and another is Keeping Busy. They are both geared to people with Alzheimer's.

Hopefully, you will find something that she enjoys. It may also take encouragement. My mother will say no to everything, but with encouragement, she will do many activities and enjoy herself.


MN Chickadee
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 9:37 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1547

Most games were not going to work for us. Try craft kits designed for little kids from a Michaels store or similar. We had to use pretty basic ones. Coloring books worked for a while. Sorting was always popular. Various things to sort such as buttons, coins, beads, wash cloths. Folding laundry (dump out and repeat.) Also my mother loved dolls and doll clothes. I got a bunch of preemie outfits from a kids second-hand store for her dolls. If I did a puzzle with her she would participate, wasn't very good at it but at least interacted a bit. You might also try play-dough or kinetic sand to mess with, sometimes those sensory activities are enjoyable. She loved simple car rides as well. Our LOs have incredible changes in their abilities and normal activities just don't work anymore. Adjusting our expectations is essential to meet them where they are at.
Bob in LW
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 12:56 PM
Joined: 1/28/2022
Posts: 53

My SO's primary care doctor recommended the Word Seek puzzles as a good brain exercise, and she enjoys them.  She can work at her own pace and feel a sense of accomplishment as she locates each one.
Rescue mom
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 3:53 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2581

Word puzzles fast got too hard for my mom. But she did enjoy playing games with a bunch of blocks of different sizes, shapes and colors. (None tiny, most were hand-size)

 She could look at a card from the game, and then use the blocks to copy  whatever shape was on the card. The game is on Amazon, something like “Pattern Puzzles” maybe. Cost about $10-15. There’s some other variations and sizes.

Even when she didn’t try to copy what was shown, she liked sorting and handling the blocks.

My DH with Alzheimer’s was never a game person, but he liked to sort small objects. Coins were his favorite. But screws and nails, pens/pencils, safety pins from paper clips, etc. He also liked folding simple things, like towels, napkins, T-shirts. Finish one pile? Just shake them out when he’s not looking, Repeat.