That’s a really good point. And if you brought the idea of “playtime” to a meeting, you might get laughed at or worse yet fired! Unless you had some darn good reasons that everybody would respect. So let me give you some reasons why I believe play is important at any age.
It Helps Folks Smile
In his book Play, author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD called play a “state of being,” “purposeless, fun and pleasurable.” For the most part, the focus is on the actual experience, not on accomplishing a goal.
That’s why play makes people smile no matter what their age is. People play just for the sake of doing it. There’s no point, no goal, no expectations.
We like to put LEGOⓇ bricks in front of seniors and let them do what they want. And before you know it, a lot of them start smiling. There’s just something magical about doing something you want – for no reason at all.
It Helps them Make Friends
A few seniors refuse to play with the LEGO© bricks I bring – but they still have fun.
For example, there’s a resident named Fred. He will not touch the LEGOⓇ bricks. But, he watches what other people are building and gives them suggestions. That’s how he participates.
Communities are always getting new residents and our program allows them to join in on the activity and slowly get to know other residents in a non-threatening way. There is no right or wrong way to build. They can enjoy what they create and see the joy of the other participants and what they build. It’s a sort of shared bonding experience.
This happens all the time. Someone is building something and another person comments or offers a suggestion… and before you know it… they’re friends!
It Helps them Feel like they’re Worth Something
Living with dementia must be extremely difficult to find a way to contribute. To show that they are special and that their lives matter.
It’s amazing when someone just has fun and does something spontaneous for no reason at all! It makes you feel alive!
When seniors build something unique with their hands, how do you think they feel?
Did you know that with six – 2×4 bricks you can make 915,103,765 different combinations?
On a human level, this is pretty much infinite. Which is why, I can give a bunch of people the same bricks and elements and they are each going to create something new and different than anyone else.
I love to play and I highly recommend it to everyone. If you do not play every day, I suggest you find a way to play for just a few minutes to start, and you’ll see how your outlook will improve. I see how it impacts my clients’ lives. They appreciate my visits. They look forward to it. Take their lead and try it out.
P.S. if you’re interested in learning more about Senior LEGOⓇ Play Sessions click here.