Working with low level patients that have dementia can be a challenge when your goal is to find treatment activities that are both purposeful and fun.
Dominos are not only familiar, but they provide smooth tactile input, are visually stimulating and you can easily grade this activity.
This domino match game can used as an independent activity with intermittent cuing or even in a group setting.
I am currently using this activity with a patient that is an Allen Cognitive Level 3.0 to increase social participation, increase daytime arousal and decrease adverse behaviors as part of a sensory diet.
Key Considerations to Using Dominos with Your Patients That Have Dementia:
- You could easily have the patient complete in standing to discourage sitting for long periods of time
- Because stacking, sorting, and placing of the dominos can be set up as a repetitive activity, it is perfect for someone that is around an ACL of a 3.0
- You will have to determine how much stimulation is "too much" and they may be able to tolerate or need more/less at different times throughout the day
- Cues may be indicated to continue to participate
- Complete set up will be necessary and limiting the number of dominos may be necessary depending on the client's specific needs to succeed!
- Set of colorful dominos (like these)
- Photocopy of Dominos
How to Make Your Own:
I first took out the lower numbered dominos from my deluxe set, as I wanted to start with the traditional dominos that most people are familiar with.
Next, I laid them out on the copier so I could make some copies, but the SNF that I was working at did not have a colored copy machine, so they came out in black and white.
Because they were black and white, I colored the dots to coordinate with the colors on the dominos.
I next cut the domino copies in different sized strips. If you have a patient that has a low cognitive level, they may only be able to match 3 at a time or someone with a higher level may be able to do 6 or more.
Place them horizontally vs vertically for the patient, as we tend to look left to right in the direction of reading and tape them down to the table.
You can have them match the color of the dominos, stack the dominos, match the number on the dominos or even have them take the dominos out of the tin and put them away.
Another option would be to laminate the domino copies so you can use them over and over with other patients. Enjoy!
How else could you use this domino match game in your practice? Comment below!
If you are looking for other treatment ideas for people with dementia, check out Alzheimer's Bathing Battles