We love playing games at Westacre and judging by the way that puzzles and board games virtually sold out at the beginning of lockdown, we know we are not alone.
In a world immersed in digital technology where there are tens of thousands of whizzy phone apps and online games available, it might seem strange that when things got tough, we turned in our droves to traditional fun, engaging with forms of entertainment which are tens, hundreds, or even thousands of years old.
The game we know as dominoes for example first appeared in Italy around the 1700s. Monopoly can be traced back to 1903 and has been a firm family favourite over the last 50 years at least. While chess goes back centuries, with some historians believing a form of chess started as early as the 7th century.
There is something deeply comforting about sitting down to play something a little more traditional – it is about as low-tech as you can get.
And such traditional games still have all the appeal and benefits for us as adults as they did in childhood – they are great for mental health, cognition, and building relationships (family arguments over Monopoly aside!) Accessible to all and inexpensive too ––some of the best-loved games like 20 questions and noughts and crosses come for free. These are all sure-fire reasons why we have not abandoned them completely, despite the lure of e-games.
As well as being lots of fun, simple cognitive activities such as bingo and familiar board games can also be of great value to our residents, stimulating their minds, helping them to connect with each other and staff, and triggering happy memories. Because many of the games we play haven’t changed in decades, they are familiar to residents both from their childhoods and from playing with their children when they were young.
That is why we build a lot of games into our calendar here at Westacre, with dominoes, skittles, bingo, board games like snakes and ladders and draughts, and card games all featuring on our activities calendar regularly.
So, while the rest of the country started gaming during lockdown – we have never stopped! We will keep on playing and having fun – and we hope the rest of the world keeps up that habit too.