Elderly people like to play games almost as much as young children do. Just keep in mind that some of them may not be as active as others, and try to gear your game selection so that everyone has a fair chance. Mind games are a good way to keep the elder person's mind alert and active. Simple hand games can help with arthritis. Whatever games you choose, the key is to make it fun.
Put a twist on the TV game shows that guess the words to songs. Elderly people can remember songs from many years ago, so find the appropriate music. Have your elderly guests sit in a circle with the host and tape recorder in the centre. Give them each a piece of paper and pencil to keep score on.
Start with one person and go around the circle one by one. Play a song from their younger days. Stop the song after a few seconds. Either ask the person whose turn it is to name the song, or sing the next part. If that person gets it right, they can write down a point. If not, move on to the next person and have them sing part of the song.
The music game gives the elderly person great memories in the songs they enjoyed as young people, and it also helps them to exercise their hands by writing down their score. Keep it lively and entertaining. Ask them how old they were when they first heard that song.
Go all the way around the circle, playing different songs from the tape or CD. If it is a small group you can keep going several times, or until they start to get bored with the game. The prize is the CD or tape of the "old" music you have been playing. They will enjoy the gift of their favourite music almost as much as the game.
This too is music related, as the elderly do enjoy music from their day. Make up some large cards to look like bingo cards. Use 20 by 25 cm (8 by 10 inch) sheets of card stock or construction paper. Draw your lines in with a magic marker. The larger cards and darker writing will make it easier for the elderly to see the game they are playing.
Instead of letters or numbers, fill in the squares with the names of recording artists from the past. Place the names in random squares on each card. Make sure you have a song to play from each artist you put on the cards.
The object of the game is to play the song and the contestants mark the artist that is singing it. When their card is marked in a bingo pattern they call out "Bingo Blues!" You can give the tape or CD you are using as a prize at the end of the game, or you can play several times and give out simple little gifts, such as inexpensive music tapes or books to read. Elderly people will enjoy listening to the music later and remembering how much fun they had winning the music.