Connecting with Caregivers: Helping Loved One's with Parkinson's Connect by Playing Games

Play the R.O.S. Therapy system
with someone who has Parkinson's
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system. It is associated with dopamine deficiencies, and typically only effects middle-aged and elderly people.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s make it challenging for those with it, as well as caregivers, to find ways to interact and connect. And because of these challenges, those with Parkinson’s disease often feel stigmatized, depressed, and lonely. Game playing is a great way to overcome this and increase enjoyment in the life of the individual with Parkinson’s disease.
Unfortunately, while game playing is a great tool for socialization, memory making, connecting and interacting despite the mental and physical handicaps associated with Parkinson’s, those same handicaps often get in the way of game playing. Caregivers need to consider the various obstacles those with Parkinson’s face, and be selective about the games they play, offering something that challenges the individual without adding to their frustration.

What are some of the handicaps or obstacles faced by those with Parkinson’s? While there are many, and they differ in every case, the most common include:

1. Decreased motor skills

2. Tremors

3. Slowed movement

4. Impaired posture and balance

5. Loss of automatic movements: blinking, smiling, swinging arms, gestures when talking

6. Speech changes

7. Writing is more difficult

As you can see, these symptoms can make some games very difficult to play. When selecting games to play with someone with Parkinson’s disease, look for options that don’t require a lot of modification or help. It is often frustrating and embarrassing to the individual to need help. By choosing games better suited to their challenges, you allow them to enjoy interacting with dignity. A few good rules of thumb to follow when selecting games include:

1. Simple rules

2. Shorter playing time

3. No cards to hold

4. Nothing that requires regular need for muscle control

5. Nothing that requires secrecy or hiding of cards, pieces, etc. (Rummicube, for example would be very difficult as impaired motor skills could lead to knocking over their tray and exposing the tiles to other players)

6. Simple, easy to communicate instructions

7. Nothing that requires too great of depth or strategy.

8. Something they can win, and feel achievement in doing so.

R.O.S. Therapy Systems are a great option for game playing with someone with Parkinson’s. This gaming system allows activity board inserts to be switched in and out on a tray to individualize games and engage loved ones. The tray is easy to use, the inserts easy to manage. The pieces are large and not hard to maneuver. There are no batteries. The games are simple, but offer challenge and creative fun.
The R.O.S. Therapy System

The System helps with the following:

• Socialization

• Reality Testing

• Time, Place and Person Orientation

• Stimulated Interest in the Environment

• Cues for Reminiscence

• Tactile, Auditory and Visual Stimulation

• Increased Avenues toward motivation

• Individualization of client, patient, and resident use

• Self-worth, Pride and Esteem

• Decision Making Opportunities

• Creative Expression

• Have Fun

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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