Bingo Is Not Just A Game!
By Jerry Lynn Daniels, ADC/ALF/MC/AD/EDU, CDP
** Article describing Bingo as an assessment tool. Food for Thought **
Bingo is very popular in geriatric recreational programming. It is the most requested activity in most seniors facilities or communities.
Activity Professionals for years have heard the dreaded "all you do is play bingo all day" from co-workers, friends and family alike. Bingo is not all they do but it is a very important part of their jobs. Although it is at times dreaded by professional caregivers, it should remain a part of recreational programming because of it obvious entertainment value. And of course we know if it were removed it could cause a revolt. There is a not-so-obvious reason as well. Therapists, nurses, social workers, friends, families as well as activities professionals should learn to use bingo as an assessment tool. The best part is that there are no fancy, expensive assessment packages to purchase. You use an activity which is already taking place.
Bingo can be used to assess a persons level of function in certain areas such as these:
Hearing. It will become obvious if someone is constantly asking that the numbers be recalled. or if a person who normally sits at the back of the room all of a sudden asks to sit closer to the caller. Visual cards may be required.
Sight. You may observe a person straining their neck or eyes. They may be leaning in closer to the card or may have many called numbers still uncovered.
Speech. A person must be able to yell "bingo" but must also be able to call out there numbers once they have won the game.
Cognition. A person may begin to have trouble finding the numbers once they have been called or may not be able to follow through with covering the number once called.
Fine Motor Skills. Fine motor skills must be used to manipulate the cards whether slide cards or traditional cards and chips are being used. They may repeatedly knock all their chips from their card or be unable to slide the covers into place.
Social Appropriateness. The persons ability to interact appropriately in a social setting is also assessed.
When using bingo as an assessment tool, one session will tell you a lot about the person. However, observing several games over a course of time is best. If you are a professional in one of the senior settings, learn to assess your clients using bingo. If you are a family member who is noticing some changes in your loved one, get them involved in games such as these. Not only will they help with socialization and entertainment but they may also help you to understand different aspects of your loved one's functional level.
There are many websites where you can create your own bingo cards. Just search "free bingo cards" or go to either of these sites http://www.print-bingo.com or http://www.dltk-cards.com
There are senior centers throughout Jacksonville which offer full activities calendars including bingo. For a listing of the City of Jacksonville Community Senior Centers go to http://www.coj.net/Departments/Recreation+and+Community+Services/Adult+Services/Community+and+Senior+Centers/default.htm
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