Card party, anyone – Seniors benefit from ‘the shuffle’


On multiple levels, card playing can be very beneficial for seniors. Playing card game with others, along with having the value of brain stimulation, have the added bonus of social interaction.  Our activities staff often play cards with residents.  When I work the front desk here in the evenings, I also offer residents the opportunity to stop by for some games of cards. We used to have quite the crowd that would come, necessitating the use of a card table pulled up to the desk and chairs and a stool gathered from all parts of the office. More recently, less people have been coming, which is really too bad since card playing is very beneficial for mental and social stimulation.

Games which stimulate the mind, according to, may slow various forms of dementia.

Furthermore, this same source shares that “games involving acuity, concentration and focus enhance the brain’s capability to utilize and stimulate brain cells, electrical connections and keep neural pathways open and functioning.”

Along with card games, board games, logic and crossword puzzles, etc. can help with mental and cognitive functions, to which helps with reasoning, problem solving, memory, processing and concentration.

According to an article by Stephanie Henkel, “decline in brain power…can be slowed by exercising our brains and challenging our new brain cells with a variety of stimulating activities.” Another interesting point she makes is that “just as our bodies need physical exercises and training to keep fit, so our brains need to be exercised…”

Actually, games that require more skill and strategy are better, such as pinochle, bridge or canasta, according to this same source. Making a periodic effort to learn new games is also suggested, however, I have learned that some people simply often don’t have the motivation or mental capacity for this. One of my favorites doesn’t do a ton for brain stimulation, but is good to keep you moving physically, and that is “spoons.”

Another article on the benefits of card playing adds some additional considerations:

“Cards are portable…” Also, along with the mental advantages, playing cards can help people “improve their fine and gross motor skills” and hand-eye coordination. Another point this article shared is that “shuffling and dealing may help quicken your reflexes.” For those who lack the dexterity, as they age, to hold all their cards easily, I’ve seen rack devices where they can place their cards and which can be very helpful.


2 thoughts on “Card party, anyone – Seniors benefit from ‘the shuffle’

  1. I find this interesting in that my mother developed dementia. She was somewhat antisocial and did not like games or playing cards as a form of entertainment, therefore would not allow them in the house. Our women’s club ladies pack up boxes for our military overseas. The tale about a serviceman using a deck of ordinary playing cards as an aid to prayer and meditation dates to 1788. The popular song “Deck of Cards”, (sometimes known as “A Soldier’s Prayer Book”) was written in 1948 by “T.” Texas Tyler and was recorded by (among others) Tex Ritter in 1948, Wink Martindale in 1959, and Bill Anderson in 1991. In every box we pack, along with wet wipes, sunscreen, chapstick, powdered drink mixes & jerky, is a brand new pack of playing cards with these prayer & meditation instructions:

    Ace: The one true God
    Deuce: The Old Testament and New Testament in the Bible
    Trey/Three: The Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost
    Four: St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, evangelists and authors of the four Gospels
    Five: The two groups of five virgins who trimmed their lamps for a wedding. Five were wise (by saving enough oil) and were admitted, while the other five were foolish (did not have enough oil) and were shut out.
    Six: God created the Earth in six days.
    Seven: God rested on the seventh day, now known as the Sabbath.
    Eight: The eight righteous people whom God saved during the Great Flood: Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives.
    Nine: Of the ten lepers whom Jesus cleansed, nine of them didn’t even thank him.
    Ten: The Ten Commandments God handed down to Moses.

    King: God, the Father.
    Queen: Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Queen of Heaven.
    Jack or Knave: Satan or the Devil
    365 Spots: Days in a year
    52 Cards: Number of weeks in a year
    Thirteen Tricks: Number of weeks in a quarter
    Four Suits: Approximate number of weeks in a month or the four seasons
    Twelve Face Cards: Number of months in a year

    Most people admire the passion behind the message. You don’t always need the Bible to pray. A creative spirit recognizes the need to worship God is stronger than the supplies on hand. Soldiers are all too familiar with “making do” during deployments. How fitting that the very same men and women who provide us with security, find peace of mind in prayer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s