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Brain Games

Recently we hosted our senior Olympics program. This year we added a new event called Brain Games. I found a really good link for brain games that you should look at to understand the definition.

After looking at that link and reading through some other online material, I realized that there is a difference between training your brain and brain games. Be mindful (pun intended) that you are not qualified to train resident's brains unless you have gone to training for it. We, as activities professionals however, are very capable of playing brain games with those who are interested in our communities.

Recently, I introduced Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Wii Jeopardy, Wii Wheel of Fortune and a Name that Tune type of game.  They are fun games that required your brain, so I thought that they were Brain Games. This last game, Name that Tune, I created on my own since I could not find anything that would have been appropriate for this generation to identify with. I downloaded music from the 30's and 40's to my laptop, and played the beginning of the songs only. I asked the residents to identify the song title. I gave them an option to play as a group as a single. There are plenty of studies that tell us the importance of music therapy, and maybe you have a music therapist in your community. I am not suggesting that I (or you) can do their job, but I will say that this game had the residents thinking about the songs, sharing what was happening in their life at the time, and some even sang along when I played the answer to the song at the end of the program.

4 Pictures, One Word is the next game that I am creating. You will be able to find it on your phone or tablet in the app store, but it is usually a game for one person to play. I am using the examples that I find on the apps to make a PowerPoint presentation that I can show to the group. The will work as an individual or as a team.... residents choice.... and have a set time (15 sec.) to answer the question on a piece of paper. The team or individual with the correct answers will be the winner(s).

While researching brain games, I found a great site from AARP for brain games that you can play on-line. I think that some of these games on this website would be easy to implement as a program for your CCRC residents. They could also be modified based upon the resident's ability level. Take a minute and play the Elephant Memory game. You could see how you could put a 20-25 words onto the screen or black board and show it to the group for a minute. Let's call this your master list. Then give each participant a piece of paper with a group of words on it, and ask them to find the 5 words that were on the master list. Give them a set time to do this and time them if you want to. Repeat this with 2 or 3 pieces of paper with other words from the master list on it, until they finish the round. Show them the master list so they can grade how they've done. Or, keep it real simple for you - though harder or the player, and show them the master list and give them a set time to write down as many words as they can recall.  

The same could be done with the split words game. A little preparation ahead of time and you are all set.  Stay within a category (insects, flowers, etc.), put the parts of the words out on a table, think index cards, and ask the individuals to put together as many words as they can in a set time. Time the groups/individuals if you want.

I could go on, but I think that you get the point. Take the ideas you find on the internet and find a way to make them work for your group. Soon there will be a day when we will be asking residents to bring their tablets to the activity room and go to a designated website, where they will compete with those in the room or by themselves, but be scored against others playing in the same room.

p.s. You may want to see my Amazon store "An Activities Director's Look into Amazon" for different ideas also.

"The root of all health is in the brain. The trunk of it is in emotion. The branches and leaves are the body. The flower of health blooms when all parts work together."

- Unknown Author

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