Lorna’s Word Game gets the neural pathways firing

With Dementia Action Week coming up from 19-25 September and World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21, Mercy Community’s Aged Care teams are excited to share a popular word game developed by one of our beloved Nudgee aged care residents, Lorna, which is sure to keep our brains healthy and active.

Our teams are always searching for new ways to engage residents in interesting games and activities and this time our Nudgee residents have developed a real winner.

Lorna’s Word Game has been running for several years now and is growing in popularity with the weekly challenge a highly competitive affair. The game is led by Mercy Community’s enthusiastic support team, and by all accounts is excellent for exercising and improving word memory and vocabulary, thereby maintaining cognition through ‘brain exercise’ and reading skills. This can help the brain navigate alternative pathways if damaged, for example, with Dementia.

Mary Damien Aged Care Residence Lifestyle Facilitator Samantha Talbot says that group activities like Lorna’s Word Game target social isolation and help develop a sense of purpose. Dementia Australia recommends a variety of daily activities to look after the mind, and Lorna’s Word Game is a perfect example.

Due to its popularity and interest, the highest word game score is now being included in the residents’ Lifestyle newsletter. Lorna has advised that there must be five vowels and enough consonants for the game to work effectively and be able to reach over 400 words – the highest score has been 477 different words from the one word!

So, how do they play it, you ask?

Players can only use the letters that make up the word to make another (shorter) word. No other letters can be used. If they do not appear in the word, or the letter does not appear enough times to be used, it cannot be used. For example, Tinnitus has two ‘T’s and two ‘I’s, two ‘Ns’, a ‘U’ and an ‘S’, so the word can only include these.

To play the game, it’s best to space the letters out on landscape A4 paper, make columns under each letter, e.g. ‘Under’ can start the ‘U’ column off. ‘Near’ could start the ‘N’ column, and so forth. When you’ve exhausted all your words, add up your total number of words to find the winner.

Mercy Community is delighted to see the positive impact Lorna’s Word Game is having on our residents and supports our mission to always strive to achieve the best outcomes for the people we support.

The theme for Dementia Action Week 2023 is Act Now for a Dementia-Friendly Future. To find out more about the week, visit: Dementia Action Week | Dementia Australia

Facts about Dementia and where to get help are available on this information sheet: About dementia 1 – About dementia

For more than 160 years, Mercy Community has been providing a wide range of services and support to people in the community. Our work includes supporting families and young people, people living with disability, and the elderly. We do this through many programs and services, including residential aged care and in home care.

Our network is continually growing with residential aged care facilities now throughout Queensland and in Sydney, New South Wales.

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