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  • Writer's pictureThe Ideal Team

Card Games for Seniors

Finding engaging activities for seniors can be a challenge, however, playing card games seem to be the one universal enjoyment for many older adults. It provides socialization and a sense of the familiar as they reminisce about their childhood and early years with family and friends.

For those with dementia, selecting games that have few rules, take less time to play, and that they can play confidently can be quite beneficial to engage them, as well as boost their self-esteem.


A popular game where players make pairs out of the cards in their hand, either by asking the other player for a specific card or by picking up cards from the pile. The player that runs out of cards first, wins.

What you’ll need

2 people and a standard deck of playing cards.

How to play Go Fish

  1. Deal 5 cards face down to each person.

  2. Put the rest of the cards in a pile in the middle of the table.

  3. Player 1 chooses one of their cards, for example, a 5, and asks Player 2 “Do you have a 5?”

  4. If Player 2 has a 5, they give Player 1 that card. Player 1 takes both 5s from their hand and puts them face down. Player 1 gets to go again since they guessed correctly and got a card from Player 2.

  5. If Player 2 does not have a 5, they tell Player 1 to “go fish.” Player 1 takes a card from the pile in the middle of the table. Now it’s Player 2’s turn to ask.

  6. Keep going until somebody makes pairs of all the cards in their hand and wins.

Modified "21" or Blackjack

For those with mild cognitive impairment or a strong mathematical ability, this game is a great option! Similar to regular Blackjack, players must get close to "21" as possible without going over.

How to play with 2 people

  1. Deal 2 cards to each person using the “one for you, one for me” method.

  2. Each person decides if they want additional cards or not.

  3. Compare cards to see who wins – whoever is closest to 21 without going over is the winner.

Whichever game you choose, remember to be patient and have fun! It's not always about following the rules, but spending time together instead!

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998.

We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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