My husband is a tour bus driver. His destinations vary widely depending on whether he is taking the group to a flower show or the theatre in the bay area, a sports team to a tournament, or even transporting farm workers.
Occasionally, he takes a bus full of (usually) ladies to a Bingo night. These Bingo enthusiasts are serious players. The trip takes a few hours, but the bingo games begin in earnest as soon as the first passengers are on the bus. They play bingo all the way to their destination, play for several hours, and continue the game all the way back to where the journey began.
He enjoys the bingo run and sometimes even gets roped into filling in for a player while they take necessary breaks. It requires quite a bit of concentration as there are usually a couple dozen cards to keep track of all at the same time.
On one trip, he happened to notice the most fascinating thing: These ladies are sharp! If someone missed a number, and calls out, “What was that last number?” Several begin to recite a long string of recent numbers that had been called.
Did I mention that most of the bingo players are 65 + years old? I wondered if there was something about the game of bingo that helped keep the mind tuned up, as it were. I Googled benefits of bingo, and….bingo! there it was:
According to the study, “Loss of visual perception is a common feature of old age (this is most prominent in people with dementia) and that is why Bingo is such a good tool to combat this. It promotes interaction and mental engagement.” It goes on the state, ”Researchers discovered that large bingo cards with a high contrast increase playing abilities and thinking skills.”
“The general finding of improved performance across healthy and afflicted groups suggests the value of visual support as an easy-to-apply intervention to enhance cognitive performance,” researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Boston University and Bridgewater State University wrote.
You don’t necessarily have to hop on a bus to receive bingo’s benefits since most centers that offer activities for seniors include the game of bingo.
Perhaps it is time to give bingo a try – what do you have to lose?