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.

Elderly at St. Anne’s help teach virtues to young people

Guest Post by Lynn Lane (mother and organizer in the Club)

The past weekend Little Flowers Girls’ Club visited St. Anne’s Guest Home.  The average age of members is eight.  Generally at our meetings, the girls give a presentation on a saint and a virtue in which they have been working on.  The residents at St. Anne’s provided an excellent audience for our young girls to make these presentations.  From a six year old to ten year olds, these girls were not the least bit intimated by the kind people who reside at the Guest Home.  I was so pleased that the residents were interested in the girls presentations.

Learning and practicing virtues can be difficult.  Being with the elderly can teach these young girls about many virtues:

Faith…seeing our elderly brothers and sisters having confidence in their surroundings and caregivers.  Their past and current experiences can teach the younger generation about trust in God regardless of our state in life.

Hope…as the elderly reach a place in life in which possibility of death and eternal rest becomes nearer, they can demonstrate hope in the Lord for their eternal peace and salvation.  They can also demonstrate hope for their family who have gone before them and who will be left behind on earth with in confidence in prayer.

Love of God…the elderly can demonstrate to the youthful their love of God through regular Mass attendance and adoration which are so beautifully provided within their home.  They can also demonstrate this through the way in which they decorate their apartments or rooms and how charitable they are to others for the glory of God.

Love of Our Neighbor…living in tight-knit circumstances particularly after being independent and industrious for the majority of their lives can create hardships and more opportunity to show love of neighbor through compassion and patience for their neighbors.  Just as living at home with our families we sacrifice to make others happy and have patience when things can become annoying this is ten-fold in a living environment with multiple people.

Obedience…the elderly demonstrate obedience by following the rules established in the setting in which they are living, by being civic minded, by being good examples to the children through their interactions with others.  Most of all they demonstrate their obedience to God by serving Him, loving others and accepting help from those who are trying to glorify God through a ministry of love and assistance.

Piety…the elderly can demonstrate this by desiring always to do that which is pleasing to God.  They can express this through actions and conversations with staff, visitors and neighbors.

Humility…as our bodies age they can disappoint us through limitations and pain.  It is a humbling experience.  The elderly are phenomenal examples of persevering despite their bodies limitations.  They can show us how to glorify God through the things they are able to accomplish, especially creatively accomplish.

Industry…we can learn from the elderly and from the staff and leaders at the Guest Home.  They work hard to make the lives happy and healthy for those that are living there.  Doing their work to glorify God.

Truthfulness…when our elderly friends can share their experiences with us through dialogue.  The good times and the bad.  Reminding us of how God has been ever present in their lives.