The Power of Play: Improving Mental Health with Senior Care Services
Everyone loves to play, but opportunities can be hard to come by as we age. But what if making time to play could actually boost your mental health?
Today’s post reviews research by the International Journal of Play Therapy to explain how ABC Clinton Township’s senior care services can improve your loved one’s mental health.
The Scientific Value of “Play Therapy”
“Play therapy” can stimulate and engage the brain in ways that benefit those suffering from memory loss, dementia, depression, and other mental health issues.
A case study by the International Journal of Play Therapy found that play therapy for seniors had the following benefits:
- Improved social skills. “Clients became more active, less isolated, and more appropriate in their social interactions” (Ledyard, 1999, p. 72). Further, seniors who had previously been hesitant to leave their rooms at one assisted living facility “began to join others in the halls and participated in social activities” (p. 72).
- Improved mental clarity. Participants reported “reduced forgetfulness and increased mental sharpness” (p. 72).
- Improved mental wellness. “Depression appeared to decrease and there seemed to be an increase in self-esteem” (p. 72). Assisted living staff noted that resident participants were “happier and less withdrawn” (p. 72).
- Improved interpersonal relationships and communication skills. Participants were more “able to talk about issues they had once thought they had to keep to themselves” (p. 72).
- Greater interest in developing coping skills. Play therapy recipients showed interested in “attempting to resolve issues such as loss of loved ones, isolation, lack of control over life situations, loneliness, and fears” (p. 72).
Brain-Boosting Game Recommendations
In addition to being healthy brain-boosters, the following games are all cheap, fast, and beginner-friendly–and they all fit seamlessly into our senior care services.
- Card games. More difficult games like Bridge, Cribbage, and Hearts are great for those looking for a challenge, while less complicated options like Go Fish and Solitaire can be enjoyed by all.
- Board games. Anything from Connect Four to more difficult games of strategy like Chess and Backgammon.
- Memory/cognition games. Word searches, crosswords, Scrabble, jumbles, and any game where you must match pairs of like cards are great.
- Creative activities. Arts and crafts, painting, free drawing, knitting, crocheting, and even puzzles are great play options that also give opportunities for expression and creative fulfilment.
- Movement games. Combine the benefits of play with some light exercise with a few rounds of darts, ring toss, Bocce, or a game of “eye spy” woven into your morning walk.
Harnessing the Power of Play with Senior Care Services in Clinton Township, Michigan
Always Best Care Clinton Township offers a wide range of senior care services, many of which can easily integrate various forms of play therapy.
Whether you’re looking for a quick game of cards or a play-oriented outing, our team of trusted and highly trained caretakers can accommodate your loved one. All of our staff are screened, background-checked, bonded, and licensed, and must complete initial and ongoing training to ensure our standards are maintained.
To learn more about how play therapy fits into our companionship, home helper, and personal care services, visit https://www.alwaysbestcare.com/mi/chesterfield/care-services/in-home-care/, or call 576-203-2157 to sit down with a member of our team in Clinton Township, Michigan.
Ledyard, P. (1999). Play therapy with the elderly: A case study. International Journal of Play Therapy, 8(2), 57.