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Database: ES13

Created On Wednesday, 12 June 2013 21:48 By José Jesús Delgado

ID Code (e. g. HU1):
Memoria y otros retos cotidianos: Ejercicios y actividades para la estimulación cognitiva
ENGLISH TRANSLATION: : Memoria y otros retos cotidianos: EjeMemory and other daily challenges. Exercises and activities for cognitive stimulation
Nina Gramunt Fombuena –ISPA- (Instituto de Sociología y Psicología Aplicadas)

Fundación la Caixa
ORGANIZATION (URL):, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
TYPE (SME, Company, Community Centre, Health Centre, Educational Centre, Foundation,
Municipality, governmental institution, etc):
Fundación “La Caixa” Avenida Diagonal 621-629 / 08028 Barcelona
TELEPHONE: 902 223 040
  In this case, please indicate the territorial
scope of the organization:

Age range:
From: N/A to N/A years Not defined
Older than: N/A years  
Gender: Unisex

4 - CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MIND FITNESS PROGRAM / SERVICE / ACTIVITY (NB: Should the program, service or activity be included into more than one category, please select the most representative category for that PSA. But, REMEMBER: THE PSA MUST BE SELECTED ONLY IN CASE THAT MENTAL FITNESS / MENTAL WELLBEING IS INCLUDED IN ITS GENERAL AIMS OR GOALS. IF NOT, YOU SHOULD NOT SELECT IT. The characteristics below are the means, not the goal)
Providing cognitive/memory training
Other: N/A
(EXPECTED) DURATION OF THE Programme/Service/Activity: Not defined
Begin (Month/Year, e. g. 02/2012):N/A
End (Month/Year, e. g. 02/2012):N/A or Number of weeks:N/A
Number of units:N/A
Hours per unit:N/A

This project is part of the Program Ludiman, promoted by AIJU (Asociación de Investigación de la Industria del Juguete, Toy Industry Investigation Association) and IBV (Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia, Valencia Biomechanics Institute). This project is aimed at analyzing the possibilities of table games as tools for improving and preventing the undesirable effects of ageing, and it provides guidelines to adapt the design of games to the needs and preferences of older people. So, its goal is to specify which the connections are between older people’s needs and the positive effects of games. In this regard, the playing activities included in the resulting project have the following objectives:

Exercise their cognitive skills
Enhance their sensory perceptions
Improve their communication skills
Make their adaptation to retirement easier
Increase their perceived social effectiveness
Optimize the levels of subjective wellbeing
Increase the levels of live satisfaction
Relieve the feelings of loneliness
Improve their state of mind and internal motivation
Facilitate their adaptation to the environment
Increase their perception of competence
Improve healthy habits
Improve their mobility and agility

a.- Which materials were used?
Table games are used, including scrabble, taboo, chess, checkers, Parcheesi, domino, card games. Puzzles are also used, including different crossword variants, mazes and spot-the-difference games. The material also includes other games such as sayings and proverbs, word search or arithmetic games.
b.- Who conducted the program / service activity? (What role, what qualifications, etc.)

7 - METHODOLOGY USED (presentations, pair work, group work, peers, mentors, blended
learning, e-learning, etc.)
Cognitive puzzles and exercises are an excellent way of maintaining and enhancing mental activity. For its part, tabletop games facilitate and enhance social participation. However, there can be two sides to everything. The cognitive benefits that exercises may provide can lost all their value if we are not able to measure them out, making us to behave as lonely beings with few interests in other things. Also, the advantages of social involvement coming from participating in tabletop games can turn into a family conflict, or even a health problem, if we forget that we must do other duties to lead an active and healthy ageing. In the manual attached to the project, emphasis is put on the importance of leading an active, yet balanced, life. This balance must also be sought within our own mental activity by rotating the forms of stimulation; that is, although certain exercises can be especially attractive to us, it is ideal to combine them. For example, we may like doing find the words, which is an excellent stimulating activity for attention and language, but mazes, although we think it is not so attractive, would be very useful to promote planning activities and solving problems.
From this healthy approach to games, they are considered as beneficial as long as those who participate:
Devote to games some particular times of their daily life, without missing their duties or other healthy habits.
In case of betting money, they must be aware of being an isolated occasion, and, in any case, the money spent must be a minimum with respect to their level of income.
Do not have problems to leave the activity when the circumstances require so doing or when it is necessary to return to daily routines.
Perceive games as another option of the set of social, entertaining and healthy-life activities that exist, such as those proposed in the material attached to this project.
Similarly, games will be considered as a pathologic or harmful activity, which must be interrupted or subjected to professional exam or treatment when those who participate:
Experience such an intense pleasure or unusual satisfaction that they escape from any problem affecting them.
Develop an emotional dependence on games that affects in a negative way to their personal, family, professional and/or social life.
Are worried about games (reviving past game experiences, constantly planning then next game or, if this is the case, thinking about the way of getting money to carry on gambling)
Are restless or irritable when they cannot play games or try to reduce the frequency of game.
Sacrifice family, social or occupation duties so that they can play.
Tell lies to their family, friends and others to hide their degree of involvement in games.
The methodology is based on applying general criteria about the way of understanding games, so we point out the following general recommendations:
Less is more: Many older people avoid proposals for playing that are arduous to prepare or whose instructions require long time to be read. The generation that now is aged had few opportunities to play, even when they were children. That makes difficult sometimes to maintain motivation if to understand the playing dynamics requires too much effort.
There in not an only model for older people: Playing must be always a free option and each individual have their preferences. We must avoid the mistake of considering that all the older people are same and have fun in the same way. The main objective is to achieve that older people can enjoy games that they like, regardless of their kind, All the products capable of being used by older people should meet access requirements before going to market.
Start with slight modifications of existing products: Many products that are currently on the market present game proposals appropriate for maintaining the abilities that can suffer from some deterioration during ageing. To make these products accessible to older people requires only some small changes.
When selecting the game activity to be carried out it is essential to: a) define the physical, sensory and cognitive features of the potential users; b) typify the tasks to be performed during the game and the capacities needed to put them into practice; c) guarantee the easy and safe use of the product; d) Consider the motivating possibilities of the playing proposal for intergeneration play; and e) study the product potentials as a tool for socio-health care intervention.

Through this project we provide information on appropriate selection of games to be used as a healthy playing practice by older people. In this sense, we offered the following categories of playing activities: tabletop games, puzzles and other activities. Different game options are offered for each category, including description of the game, appropriate number of players and the abilities trained by the game. Some examples for every category are listed below:

1. Tabletop games:
Class: Word games. Vocabulary
Number of players: 2-4
Brief description: it is a word game aimed at forming crossed words on a game board, as in crosswords, by using tiles marked with a letter and a pint value. Players should try to achieve the highest possible score, using skilfully their tiles, i.e., placing them in the way that they make the most of the tile value and the premium squares of the board.
Abilities trained:
Fine motor skills
Language and semantic memory
Reasoning and reflection
Concentration and working memory
Class: strategy board game
Number of players: 2
Brief description: it consists of a checked board with 64 squares and two set of pieces (traditionally black and white) of 16 pieces each. There are 6 different piece types that, for each colour, are: pawns (8), rooks (2), knights (2), bishops (2), queen (1) and king (1). Each piece moves differently and also certain kind of moves (such as castling) only can be made at a certain moment of the game. It requires activating of analysis processes, reasoning methods and recording strategies, which makes it useful for the development of mathematical aptitudes. Mastering chess reasoning and strategy demands a lot of time and dedication, although not so much is required to, at least, start to play.
Abilities trained:
Executive functions:
Attention and concentration
Visual perception ability
Critical thinking (it is needed ability to put oneself “in the place of the other” and tray to foresee what their moves and/or intentions will be)
Ability to put ideas into order and to take decisions
Flexibility of thinking (ability to change strategy or approach according to the actions of opponent
Planning and foresight of consequences
Problem solving
Visual-spatial perception (moves permitted for each piece require to visualize different paths on the board)
Stimulation of the learning ability, for it is a game demanding dedication and effort to play well and improve
Memory: it is essential to remember the game’s rules and the potential moves for every piece.

2. Puzzles:
Find the words
Brief description: Find the words consist of a square grid of different letters with no apparent meaning. The object of the game is to find certain number of words, often related to a same subject. Sometimes a list of words to be discovered is provided, but other times only hints on the subject are given.
Rules: Letters must be linked to find the words sought. These words can be place in any direction (vertically, horizontally o diagonally) and in any way (straightforwardly or the other way round). Also, the same letter can belong to more than one word. Instructions for each game must be followed.
Abilities trained:
Attention and concentration
Visual perception
Semantic memory
Crosswords, arrow-words
Brief description: They are word games with grids or ruled squares to be filled in by words answering the definitions given. In crosswords, definitions are placed after the grid and listed consecutively according to its location vertically or horizontally on the grid. In arrow-words, definitions, usually shorter, are written directly on the own grid, pointing out through arrows the word location.

Abilities trained:
Language abilities:
Access to vocabulary
Semantic memory
Mental flexibility by association of ideas between definition and word, and adaptation to the proposed length (decision among synonyms)

3. Other activities:

Nonce-word game
Brief description: the so called “nonce words” are a literary procedure or figure of speech attributed to Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland’s author. Originally the object of the game is to form a new word by adding two others, complete or fragmented. The meaning of the new word will be given by the addition of the meanings of the original words. For example: to sandwichrain = to rain sandwiches; to sighspeak = to speak sighing.
Rules: The object of the game is to extract two meaningful words from each one of the words proposed. It must be taken into account that:
Both words can be complete in the original word: aspaviento = aspa + viento
One letter (or two) can be shared by the end of a word and the beginning of the other: alarma = ala + arma / filamento = fila + lamento
Perhaps it is necessary to add or drop one letter, but only by spelling reasons (that is, it is not allowed to add or drop letters that change the sounds of the original word): alambre = ala + hambre

Abilities trained:
Reading and vocabulary
Cognitive flexibility

Sayings and proverbs
Brief description: Folklore is a common way of summarizing, explaining or placing many events or situations. Proverbs, sayings and set phrases are very common in colloquial language, although sometimes its meaning is not completely known. The tasks proposed have a double objective: first, to check their own mastering of this kind of expressions, and on the other hand, to enrich that semantic heritage by the curiosity of discovering (either by intuition, deduction or consulting the answers) which are the meanings that they did not know.
Abilities trained:
Reading, writing and semantic memory
Cognitive flexibility



Grammunt, N. (2010). Memoria y otros retos cotidianos: Ejercicios y actividades para la estimulación cognitiva. Barcelona: Fundación La Caixa. Retrieved on 9 February 2013 from: .

Instituto Tecnológico del Juguete (AIJU) (2013). Juegos de mesa y personas mayores. La importancia de nuevos diseños. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from: .

Poveda, R.; Barberà, G. y Alcántara, E. (2004). Mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas mayores con productos adecuados. Perfiles y Tendencias: Boletín sobre el Envejecimiento, 12. [Bulletin published by Spain Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs]

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