What our panel thought about two new games and a range of jigsaw puzzles designed for people with dementia.
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We returned to the Dementia Voice local group in Newport, south Wales, to get their opinions on a range of games and puzzles. This group of people living with dementia meets once a month to influence our and others’ work.
They looked at specially designed jigsaws and two new tabletop games that are available from our online shop.
The puzzle pieces have been designed to be easier for people with less dexterity to hold and put together. The pictures are colourful and engaging, with many different elements to spark ideas and memories.
Alongside an image of the completed puzzle on the inside of each box’s lid, there are three conversation prompts too.
Group members liked the puzzles’ pictures, with so much to look at and talk about, and the questions on the back of the lid. They thought some elements looked more American than British, such as the caravan in the Great outdoors and the farmhouse in Farm life.
Mavis preferred standard puzzles at the moment, though she said these jigsaws would be great when someone needed larger pieces as their dementia progressed.
As well as these 100-piece puzzles, our online shop stocks 63-, 35- and 13- piece jigsaws from Relish. It also offers 16-piece puzzles from the Black Dementia Company, with evocative scenes from Africa and the Caribbean.
Noodle Nudges was created by Annie Miller when trying to find activities for her mum, who had advanced Alzheimer’s.
It includes 50 purple cards with most of a well-known proverb on one side, and 50 green cards with one word that completes each saying.
The game is to match the right ending to each proverb, which you can check by seeing if the number on the back of each card matches.
It doesn’t come with any detailed or complicated rules, the idea being that you can adapt how you play to what works best for those playing.
When the group tried Noodle Nudges, people were impressed by the beautiful packaging and clear wording. Ian noted that the cards could be difficult for some people to pick up, so they might need help doing that.
Everyone automatically looked for more guidance on the different ways the game could be played, agreeing that a couple of examples would give a good starting point.
The group still came up with various ways to play, including a version of bingo where people shout out when the word on their card completes the saying read out by a caller.
If the numbers weren’t on the back of each card (for example, if correct matches were listed elsewhere instead), you could also play ‘pairs’, where you turn a card over each time and try to remember where you last turned over its match.
Completing the proverbs also prompted conversation about older sayings that people’s parents used years ago.
All About Us board game
All About Us is a board game from Relish that was designed by researchers working alongside people with dementia.
Players take turns to throw a dice and move their counter along the board, answering questions about different decades of their past, present and future lives as they go.
Bright colours and clear symbols are used for each decade and type of question, and instructions are given for long and short versions of the game.
The group agreed that the large wooden dice and counters would be easy for most people to pick up and use.
Ian said, ‘It’s a nice big dice, for example if you had arthritis in your hand.’
He also appreciated that the question cards were easy to pick up because they’re held upright in a tray.
The questions prompted a lot of enjoyable discussion and reminiscence for the whole group, and Mavis summed up everyone’s feelings when she said, ‘It’s a good game, that!’
Prices (correct at June 2022):
As with some other specially designed products, you don’t have to pay VAT on these jigsaws or All About Us if they’re for use by a person with dementia – tick the box stating that you’re eligible for VAT relief at checkout.
Helpful everyday products
We have a great range of products designed to help people with dementia and their carers to be more comfortable in their homes, while supporting independence and safety.