Tonight I volunteered in an Assisted Living Facility, helping with Bingo – mostly just walking around and glancing at cards and primarily just being the prize gopher. I enjoy the people a lot and it was definitely interesting to compare Bingo in the Alzheimer Center vs Assisted Living. The AL people needed very little help – maybe just pointing out a number the person had overlooked.

On the other hand, I had NO IDEA that there were so many ways to mess up Bingo. I've been flabbergasted at some of the things I've seen. I'm not ridiculing the participants, just pointing out that there are more ways than you can possibly imagine, to have things not go as planned.

1) Ask repeatedly whether color of the chip (casino chips to cover item), mattered. [ I tried to fix this by sorting chips but they re-integrated them, grrr].

2) Stack like 15, 10, 2, 3, whatever you feel like, on the item.

3) Cover every single item with a casino chip right away, and then spend the rest of the session just listening. (This is surprisingly common/popular).

4) Cover items appropriately, but then, when a new item comes up, move chips to see if that new item happens to have appeared under a chip for something else).

5) Cover items that remind you of things.

6) Cover random items.

7) Pick up Bingo card  (thereby losing all chips) to look on the back to see if an item happens to just be on the back. Repeat. Repeatedly.

8) Take everything off card to examine card.

9) Sit there.

10) Put chips down passively based on where the PCA points you to place the chip.

11) Skim for items, but almost always overlook it.

12) Not have the item, and loudly announce this, implying the card is defective.

I truly love working with patients who have dementia of varying severity. I'm not making fun of them with the above list. It's just truly amazing how you can think there is only one way to do something, only to be proven wrong in many creative ways. You definitely have to be able to think quick on your feet, and to have flexibility. Instead of getting irritated when a person plays wrong, just let that person play wrong – it doesn't harm anyone and it keeps that person happy.

Oooh so that reminds me. Ok, new blog post.

Apr 04, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none