Depression and Parkinson's: How playing games can help stave off depression in Parkinson's patients

The R.O.S. Therapy System
puts the Parkinson's patient back in control.
Depression is common in people who have Parkinson’s. In fact, decreased feelings of self-worth, stigmatization, loneliness and depression are all common for those suffering from a progressive disease like Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s affects more than just the one who has the disease, but loved ones and caregivers as well. Seeing the physical and sometimes mental decline of a loved one can be heart wrenching. Especially when there is nothing that can be done to prevent it or stop it. 

However, there are things that can be done to stave off depression in Parkinson’s patients. Often, impaired cognitive and physical function leads to social withdrawal on the part of the individual with Parkinson’s. Socialization is critical for well-being, but the stares, pity, and other parts of Parkinson’s often make it easier to withdraw then to face social pressures. In addition, decreased function leads to fewer options for entertainment and engagement for the individual, and this too can lead to depression. Game playing is a great tool for fighting depression, and a great resource for providing connection, engagement, and fun for those with Parkinson’s as well as their care givers, family members, friends, and loved ones.

Those with Parkinson’s face many obstacles that can make game playing difficult. Many games are simply not suited to the unique issues and disabilities those with the disease have.

Parkinson’s disease often includes the following symptoms:
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Tremors
  • Slowed movement
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements: blinking, smiling, swinging arms, gestures when talking
  • Speech changes
  • Writing is more difficult and in some cases, not possible. 
As you can see, there are a lot of physical as well as mental obstacles that need to be avoided when selecting games to play with someone who has Parkinson’s. The chosen games should allow the individual to maintain dignity, while also providing them an opportunity to be competitive and win. The less modification or help the individual needs to play, the better. In order to facilitate this, look for games that offer short playing times, no cards that need to be held, no secrets that need to be kept, no need for regular muscle control, or coordination. 
The R.O.S. Therapy System

While meeting this criteria can be difficult, there are innovative and effective products out there, that are not only great resources, but make gaming fun and put the person with Parkinson’s back in control. The R.O.S. Therapy System is one such resource. It is a gaming console that has interchangeable activity boards, allowing the individual options, as well as easy to manage pieces, and a gaming system that can be used individually, or with others, in bed, at a table, on a lap, etc.

Why is this such a great product for those with Parkinson’s? Because it can trigger personal interest, provide an option for enjoyable time with caregivers, relatives, and friends, can help relieve many of the problems that lead to depression, boredom, and isolation, by putting the individual in control, despite their physical difficulties.

The System helps with the following:

1. Socialization

2. Stimulated Interest in the Environment

3. Tactile, Auditory and Visual Stimulation

4. Increased Avenues toward motivation

5. Individualization of client, patient, and resident use

6. Self-worth, Pride and Esteem

7. Decision Making Opportunities

8. Creative Expression

9. Fun

It is easy to use, easy to clean, and comes with a variety of activity options for individualized enjoyment. Learn more about the R.O.S. Therapy System. 

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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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