Playing card games can be seen as just a fun pastime by most people. However, there are often hidden benefits involved in developing the skills required for many of the games out there. There are tons of table top card games you can play such as solitaire and cribbage. The benefits of these games can range from improved math skills to increased sense of self-esteem as a person improves in games that require skill and know-how instead of just games of chance. These benefits can increase even more if you look at elderly populations that often struggle with things like memory loss or decreased cognitive functions. Here are five hidden benefits to playing cards that focus on the aging and elderly populations. If your loved one falls into this category these card game benefits can bring you some hope and comfort as you learn about ways to help those you care about increase their quality of life, even through something as simple as playing a fun card game.
Games Can Help Improve Patience And Concentration
Many card games rely on a group setting that requires the participants to take turns, and often focus on what other players are doing in order to play the most effective cards and win the game. This is a way for older populations to increase skills like concentration without having to feel like they are being forced to participate in activities they might find less appealing. Focusing on what other players are doing, while keeping the impulse to jump ahead in check, can really help develop highly important concentration skills and patience that may start to lack if senior citizens are not able to work on these things with activities they actually enjoy.
Card Games Can Boost Memory Skills
As we talked about in the previous benefit, many card games rely on watching what other players have used and are reacting accordingly. This is a fun way to help people boost their memory without even realizing that's what's going on. If you are focused on winning the game, you are also focusing on remembering what moves have been made, which cards have been played, and using those things to make the best move when your turn comes around. The demands on memory building skills aren't overwhelming in this type of setting because the primary focus is usually on having fun, but the benefits of using this type of game play are undeniable.
Enhanced Motor Skills
As we age our fine motor skills can often diminish, sometimes more quickly than we'd even like to admit. Playing card games requires the participants in the game to use various fine motor skills like grasping, holding, and even laying cards down in an organized manner. These are all skills that can be a challenge for elderly players, but doing an activity they enjoy while rebuilding these skills can be greatly helpful. It allows them to focus on an activity where building these skills is secondary and something they don't have to give exclusive attention. While many times fine motor skills can be part of rehabilitative therapies, playing cards gives people a chance to both improve their motor skills and enjoy their time while doing so.
Actual Health Benefits
Sometimes our elderly loved ones can be experience massive amounts of stress. It's hard to imagine living a life where simple tasks now have to be done with the help of someone else, but this is their reality day in and day out. Many times the loss of even minor amounts of independence can be really stressful for anyone experiencing that kind of life change. Playing any kind of card game has been shown time and time again to reduce stress, sometimes almost instantly. Chronic stress that remains unchecked can result in all kinds of health problems including things like heart disease and even strokes. While playing cards is never a substitute for proper healthcare, the chance to have a relaxing activity that can give your loved one a feeling of accomplishment and self-worth can go a long way in reducing stress in their lives. As any doctor would tell you, the less stress the better, so breaking out a deck of cards is often a great idea when life is starting to feel overwhelming.
Many senior citizens often talk about feeling a little cut off from the rest of the world. If they are still living at home they may not be able to drive to social functions anymore, or just may not feel like the world offers social activities for people their age. This is something that can contribute to increased feelings of sadness or depression, especially if your elderly loved one was once a social butterfly. Many senior centers have started including card game activities during the day, which has shown to be a great way to get people out of their homes and into a social environment. They are afforded an opportunity to relax, enjoy a game with other people their age, and gain some social interaction in their lives. Friendly competition and conversation are often huge parts of any card game and both can leave a person in a great mood when the game is over.
What To Take Away From This Article
It's easy to overlook things like cards as something that has little to no actual benefit to people in real life applications. But as we can see here, there are numerous benefits that shouldn't be overlooked or written off. Anytime we can offer the aging population ways to enjoy their life, and improve their standards of living we should be looking hard at making sure we are not undervaluing those options. Card games that build skill, require interaction with others, and can help with things like memory loss issues are a great thing. There are so many game options out there it's highly likely there's a perfect fit for everyone to enjoy. The more we encourage our loved ones to find the card games they will most enjoy, the more benefit they will see in their lives. The improved skills they will gain are well worth seriously looking into, so let's get out there and play some cards.