Which cognitive skills does it support?
Working memory, short-term memory, spatial memory, orientation in space, concentration, coordination.
Solving a maze with your own finger. The subject will solve the same maze several times and is expected to do it faster and faster each time (time can be measured.) The facilitator will judge, if necessary, whether on the first occasion he/she will guide the subject through the maze to the exit. The facilitator will also consider whether, in cases where the subject is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia and has well-preserved spatial memory, he/she will do so blindfolded so that the task works and short-term memory is increased.
Who the game is for – The game is suitable for professionals in a day centre and residential service, as well as for a family caring for a loved one with dementia. It is suitable for people with mild to moderate dementia.
Materials needed– Model of a maze in 3 versions. A pencil. Various figures that are used in other activities, e.g. theatre. All materials should be placed in the Memory Box.
Advance Preparation – Each participant should have a separate kit to entertain with.
Participants – This game is played individually, but can also be played in groups of up to 6 participants. The moderator or facilitator only explains the rules and helps when needed. It is very appropriate for families caring for loved ones, but can also be used in long-term care in day and residential services.
Location – Choose a quiet place where the person with dementia and the caregiver feel comfortable. There should be enough light. Make sure the person with dementia has taken their glasses or other aids such as a hearing aid so that communication can take place.
Introductions – explain what you are going to do together in a relaxed and fun way. You have to find your way in the maze. Show the first time if it necessary. This can be done with a finger, a pencil or a figurine from the Memory Box. Make sure the person with dementia gets the idea. Start with the easier maze and work up to the harder ones. The exercise is done while giving pleasure to the person with dementia. It is not necessary to do all three options.
Finally, congratulate yourself on a job well done Put the materials in the box and agree to come back to this game in time.
Explanation for the presenter of how this model might be used in home care or a residential service?
Dementia affects a person’s cognitive functions, identity, memory and concentration. It develops gradually and leads to personality change. People with dementia have problems with memory, which leads to difficulties in recall and problems with speech, coordination, abstract thinking, concentration, planning, orientation in terms of place and time, frequent mood changes. This exercise works in some cognitive areas and is easy to use in different places because not much preparation is needed. You only need to have the printed maze and judge how the object is affected; if the symptoms are severe, the facilitator will guide the subject through the maze on the first attempt, if on the other hand the subject has hardly any symptoms, the facilitator will let the subject look at the maze for one minute and then blindfold/ In this, the subject will immediately attempt the maze but without being timed and advised to concentrate on memorizing the steps that follow.
This type of exercises will stimulate:
- The working memory
- The short-term memory
- The spatial memory
- The orientation
- Trial and error
- The Concentration
- The Planning
- The Coordination
This is an enjoyable activity that you can do with family members or a formal caregiver. This will help the patient improve coordination and concentration. After solving a maze in less time, some reward can be given to the patient to encourage him.
What are the benefits of using this model?
- Using working and short-term memory in a secure environment.
- Building spatial maps in the subject’s memory
- Improve orientation and concentration.
- Improving the mood
- Eye-hand coordination (in case he/she does not use an eye patch)
- Fine motor skills.