The U.S. Olympic trials have made for inspiring television viewing, but what do you know about Olympic history? For example: Did you realize that the original meaning of “gymnasium” was “school for naked exercise”? (Sort of livens up P.E. classes, doesn’t it?)
As a caregiver, you need fresh topics of conversation when you spend leisure or task-focused time with the people you care for. Some people who need assistance, particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, often need to focus all their energy on the task – getting dressed or eating, for example. Others who need assistance, particularly for intimate care such as bathing and toileting, are grateful for the distraction of unrelated conversation. And family and friends who come to visit are almost always trying to find topics beyond, “What did you have for lunch today?” That’s when you need props and aids.
Subscribers to the monthly MindPlay Connection™ received “Olympic Oooos and Ahhhs” for July, and “school for naked exercise” was only one of dozens of Olympic trivia questions, word games, and discussion topics. (Not a subscriber? Get it now.)
For instance, here’s a discussion topic: The new Olympic torch has been described as a “cheese grater.” You and the person you are caring for could discuss that idea with questions like these:
- Do you agree?
- What else does it look like?
- What should an Olympic torch look like?
- Does the Statue of Liberty get it right?
The July issue of MindPlay Connections™ also provided the phrase “Olympic Games” in a circle (a trick used by puzzle masters) and asked readers to make other words from the letters. More than 200 are possible. Get it here.
Here are two things to remember:
- Learning new information is better for your brain than reciting what you already know.
- At the same time, people want to be “right.” They have a better chance when there are only two choices, such as true or false. (This is also easier for people with dementia.) For example:
London is the first city to officially host the games three times. However, in 1908 it was the substitute host because of a natural disaster in Italy where they had originally been scheduled. What was the disaster?
a. An earthquake ___
b. A volcanic eruption ___
(The answer is b. Mount Vesuvius erupted on April 7, 1906, devastating the city of Naples, and two years later Italy was still not ready to play host.)
Make every day brighter for yourself and the people you care for. Get many more conversation starters and ideas for sharing time together – and develop a playful mind in the process – by purchasing “Olympic Oooos and Ahhhs” here.