Physical Card Games for aging parent
May 26, 2021 3:23 PM   Subscribe

My father had a bad reaction to medicine last year, and has since had a major cognitive decline. Pixar's Dory may have a better memory than he does now. His occupational therapist has suggested he plays a physical card game like solitaire. Looking for other non-computer game suggestions. Mainly single player, since there are issues with expecting my Mom to play. He does not want traditional puzzles.
posted by Sophont to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Look for games in the category of ‘patience’ - that’s the UK name for solitaire, but there are hundreds of variants with different aims and rules.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 3:37 PM on May 26, 2021

The card game "Set" can be played alone.
posted by amtho at 3:45 PM on May 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

Do you want card games that are specifically for a standard deck of cards?

There are some variations on Solitare that are pretty fun. I like Clock Solitaire. If you want something really challenging you could try Forty Thieves. You'll need two decks of cards for it, though.

If your dad likes poker or cribbage then there are single-player variations called Poker Squares and Cribbage Squares.

If your dad likes Chess or Go then you might also consider a book of puzzles. He can solve them on paper or copy the setup to a board if he prefers something more tangible.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 3:47 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

There's always the card game Memory, which (as advertised) is a memory/concentration game where you try to find matching pairs of cards. It can be played as single-player; he just keeps track of how many turns it takes him to get all of the pairs, and tries to beat his previous best record. It's also easily adjusted for difficulty; just change the number of cards you're choosing from. So if playing with the full deck is too hard, he could play with 10 or 20 cards or something.
posted by sir jective at 3:55 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Set or other matching-type games can be played alone, and there are some designed specifically for folks with memory impairment.

These Sharpen Your Senses cards are also pretty fun. They have the tactile card-pulling experience but are more open-ended prompts vs problem solving. They can be done alone or with a partner.
posted by assenav at 3:58 PM on May 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wish for your father that memory games on the computer were not excluded. Freecell is quite frustrating but really rewarding, rather like untangling a big knot of nylon fishing string, or I guess just any jumbled tangle. I had a heart attack, was dead a *long* time without oxygen to my brain, in rehab they were absolutely unable to understand why I didn't need to re-learn numbers, or how to use a phone, or write a check, etc and etc, basic rehab stuff. They asked a lot of questions, when they heard that I was (and am) fairly addicted to Freecell they credited what I am able to do with my playing Freecell.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:05 PM on May 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

Think fun has some one-player games that may straddle the game/ puzzle boundary.
posted by oceano at 9:24 PM on May 26, 2021

Aquarius by Looney Labs has a simple solitaire variant that I enjoy, and the full game also requires minimal memory (pretty much everything is public).

Set is good because it is focused on being able to recognize patterns.

I don't know if Sudoku counts as a puzzle, but it's a good solitary and thinky activity.

My favorite solitaire variant is Yukon Solitaire.
posted by that girl at 10:16 PM on May 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

It's not a card game, but have you considered find-the-difference books? They're like magazines, and there are two almost-identical photos and you have to ... find the differences. I buy them as a quiet kid activity, but it's clear from the packaging that they're largely marketed to seniors to support cognitive function (note, I don't know if they DO that, but that's how they're advertised).

I can also recommend Spot It, which is a matching card game that can be played solo.
posted by zibra at 8:51 AM on May 27, 2021

I'll second the Spot It games. There are many different versions of the game. They sell them on Amazon if you're not opposed to buying from a big box place.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:00 AM on May 27, 2021

This is not a card game, but my Mom with dementia was able to play this longer than any other game. It is Hasbro's Connect Four. Suggested by one of her caregivers.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:25 AM on May 28, 2021

I quite like playing (the first version of) bowling solitaire. It uses just 20 cards from a standard deck.
posted by Ted Maul at 11:38 AM on May 28, 2021

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