My colleague Gail Elliot in Ontario, Canada has used her never ending creativity to develop a fun program for people with dementia. Here’s what she has to say about it:
It is often a challenge to find things that people with dementia can do successfully that truly engage the person in the activity. An iPad app has been developed for people with dementia, but in fact it could be used by anyone who loves guessing games, called “Best Guess”. I was sure that people who grew up before the age of computers and other progressive technology might be resistant to using the iPad. However, when I introduced the game to someone who was very agitated, because he was frustrated with having little to do that would leave him feeling like the competent man he used to be, he reluctantly agreed to work with me on the first couple of questions and then completely took over the device and played the game until lunch was served 40 minutes later. He laughed when he read the answers that were the incorrect answers and brilliantly lit up when he checked the correct answer. In fact, he beamed when the “Well Done” icon appeared on the screen.
Some questions were more difficult so he did not feel it was childish. The successful answers outnumbered the two he got wrong.
I have since used the Best Guess app with a number of people in various stages of dementia and have learned that once I get them started I can actually walk away and leave them to enjoy the game on their own. Many read the questions out loud and laugh when they read the “silly” answer.
What a pleasure to see people with dementia engaged in an activity that adds joy and feelings of competence. Give it a try! Since it is a new app it is hard to find if you go directly to iTunes. Use the generic Google search bar. When you bring up Google's home page type in “iTunes Best GuessDemenitiAbility” and you will see it come up. OR go to www.dementiability.com and find the link on that website.
Enjoy the game!
Gail Elliot, BASc, MA
Gerontologist and Dementia Specialist