top of page

Can board games help dementia patients?

Anyone familiar with #DOALG will know that we have done a lot of fund raising for Dementia UK, it is a charity close to our hearts that we have been supporting for quite some time now.

So what exactly is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain. Each type of dementia stops a person’s brain cells working properly in specific areas, affecting their ability to remember, think and speak.

Common symptoms include memory loss and confusion, as well as problems with speech and understanding. These symptoms get worse over time. Whilst dementia is more common in people over the age of 65, it can affect people of all ages.

There are over 200 subtypes of dementia. The most common are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.

Currently there is no cure for dementia, and a diagnosis understandably can negatively affect someone's wellbeing in itself, leaving them feeling vulnerable and alone and struggling with how they now see themselves and their future. In one study* researchers suggested that there is a scarcity of suitable materials and life enhancement strategies available to support people following a dementia diagnosis and proposed a solution of gaming, creating a life story telling game. We at #DOALG feel that this can go further, with board and cards games as a whole (provided that suitable games are chosen).

Whilst we are able to fundraise for Dementia UK (, we want to do more. So, we have been talking with friends in the gaming community and we think we can actually get games into homes of people affected by dementia where they may not have a lot of board games.

What can board games do for dementia patients?

Board games are thought to improve brain health and, to enhance memory and retention. Of course you need to select the appropriate board games to play if you are playing with someone who suffers from dementia.

From strategy to memorisation focused games, there are various board games for seniors to enjoy playing, even if they have dementia. Such games can also help to prevent dementia. Aside from entertainment, board games help to train and enhance brain, social and physical skills. In a 20-year French study**, the risk of dementia was said to be 15% lower in board game players than in non-players, showing long term effects.

When searching for the right board game for seniors to play when experiencing dementia, look for ones that build bonding and socialisation and give a feelgood factor. The games will promote the rejuvenation of memory links and create new ones at the same time.

The board games should be light, visually striking, promote conversation, and on the whole,

be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved.

So who have we approached?
The Big Potato Games logo. It has a bright highlighter yellow background, a potato with two eyes and smiling mouth on the left and larger potato to its right with the company name, both have shadows at the bottom.
The Big Potato Games logo

We have been talking to Big Potato Games ( about how to get the physical games into dementia patients' hands. Whilst it is still early stages, they have given us a selection of games for us to give out! So a massive thanks to them.

If you are reading this and would like to help #DOALG get your games into the scheme now aptly named 'Board Games 4 Dementia', then please feel free to email us at using the

subject 'Board Games 4 Dementia'. Obviously please make sure the games are suitable. Also you can check out the BG4D page here

The Board Games 4 Dementia logo. It features the DOALG Imp  (Ink) as the main feature,  he is holding a D20  in his right hand.  He is inside a white circle with a black border and there are the words BoardGames4Dementia bottom front. The web address is curved on the top right reading

What games would you suggest that someone may already have?

Snakes and Ladders is a classic, others include Othello and the original Trivial Pursuit. Some more modern games can be over complicated, so avoid anything with complex rules. Bananagrams is another good one.

How can I get a game for my family / dementia patient?

So currently we are trying to figure out how to best orchestrate this. Of course you can BUY a game from any local board game store and play with your loved ones (dementia patient or not) but if you wish to donate a game to the cause or alternatively have a loved one who would benefit from the scheme, then please reach out to us.

Board games are actually healthy and good for brains of all ages. They help reduce the cognitive decline and nurture a positive experience. We are advocates of board games,

especially since we are a review channel. I personally love the interaction and bonding over a game even if it's something simple like Exploding Kittens or something more complicated like Robinson Crusoe.

Nessa Wagstaff is on the left wearing red, she has dark hair tied back and is looking at her husband Graham Wagstaff on the right he has short grey hair and is wearing a blue jumper and has a wine glass in front of him. The triangle shaped P for Pizza box can be seen stood upright in the bottom left and slicesfrom the game are in front of the Wagstaffs

Our first recipient of a Board Game 4 Dementia is Graham Wagstaff, an ex semi-professional footballer. He and his wife Nessie Wagstaff often play games and loved the games donated. One of the games they played was P For Pizza. The aim of the game is to build a giant slice of pizza by winning small triangles of pizza. To win a triangle you must be the first player to shout out a word that links the category and the letter on the cards.

"He struggled with the competitive element but we enjoyed clues and matching" Nessie Waggstaff

Thanks all...

Mr Chris - DOALG Founder and Talent.

**Study: Playing board games, cognitive decline and dementia: a French population-based cohort study (


bottom of page