Ping Pong and Dementia: Fun Therapy for Elders!

ping pongDid you know there is a correlation between Alzheimer and the sport of Ping Pong?  Ping Pong is considered by doctors as the "sport of the brain". It is one of the best tools to keep the mind of elderly agile and fresh and at the same time delay the surfacing of dementia or Alzheimer if they where to appear.

Even when the person has already started to show symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer, it has been proven that when they are introduced to Ping Pong, their brain function increases and signs of depression decreases. Due to the nature of the game and how it is played, Ping Pong activates multiple regions of the brain and increases the blood flow into the brain. The game of ping pong is also able to increase agility, state of alertness and trigger happiness that was lost.

What happens inside the brain while a person is playing ping pong?  The player must be on high alert and anticipate where the ball will be falling. The player must be able to control the calmness and swift movement of the hand and last but not least, the player must activate all visual abilities to be able to hit the ball. The beauty of this game is that it does not require great strength and not even the ability to stand.  This game can even be played from a wheelchair with no problem at all.  All that is needed to play ping pong is the will to play it.

The SAEF Alzheimer’s Table Tennis Therapy Program is the first program in the US to use this form of therapy on dementia patients and it has been proven to improve the quality of life of those participating in the game.  Patients realize that they have an ability that they had not discovered yet and that causes them to want to play more and practice constantly.  Ping pong for elders is all about coordination, concentration, fun and happiness indeed!