Bingo as Therapy: The Role it Plays in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Treatment

When an individual has a severe disorder, they may need mental health rehabilitation at a hospital or residential program to help them manage their diagnosis and improve functioning. Rehab can help a person cope with their diagnosis and help them function better.

Studies have shown that older individuals who do socialization activities with friends are less likely to end up in the hospital; playing bingo games is one way of doing this!

It’s a game together

Bingo is designed for players to interact with each other so that they feel like part of a community. Besides being fun, it helps grow cognitive skills. Bingo needs little space or materials so it works well in nursing homes and retirement communities where seniors often play for prizes!

Albert Einstein College of Medicine psychiatric clerkship students led weekly patient bingo groups at a state hospital training unit. Participants responded to an open-ended series of questions… Weekly patient bingo group increased empathy… decreased stigmatization… fostered confidence… helped integration into ward life… encouraged specialization in psychiatry…

Social Skills Bingo is highly adaptable to meet specific learning objectives and create social connections within any classroom or therapy setting. For example, it teaches children concepts such as “thinking with your eyes” or “setting expectations.”

It’s a way for seniors to remember things

Bingo forces people’s brains to work by having them pay attention to different prompts. You’ve got to remember every number called, compare it with your card, and then cover any squares that you have if they’re called out – all while keeping the intensity high! Playing memory games like these sharpens cognitive functions.

Bingo provides seniors with social interaction which reduces isolation. It can also be playful rehabilitative therapy, reducing stress levels and anxiety. When laughter comes from playing, endorphins are released which enhance mood, eases pain perception and elevates wellbeing.

Studies demonstrate that elders who play regularly have better health outcomes, including less depression. Furthermore, seniors who partake in this physical activity tend to live longer due to more positive emotions and less pain – not to mention how it keeps them out of hospitals.

It’s a roll of the dice

In this game, random numbers are called out that players mark on their own tickets. The first player to have a complete row wins. Bingo can be played with paper cards or electronic daubers (TEDs), multiple cards at once.

Studies suggest that using free time to play bingo is associated with lower odds of hospital admission via effects on positive emotions and depressive symptoms, as well as cognitive functions such as picture naming and word list recognition.

Some programs go beyond traditional bingo and include physical activity components. One such program, called Bingocize, had older adults play bingo while doing simple exercises. The idea was to combine exercise with socialization and health education so that participants felt valued rather than stigmatized as “patients.”

It’s a simple game of chance

Bingo is a cherished pastime in nursing homes and retirement communities across the country, where residents gather around tables to mark numbers on their cards in various patterns; if they complete a row of numbers running vertically, horizontally or diagonally, they shout “BINGO!” and win a prize — it’s a game that fosters socialization and cognitive stimulation.

But could there be more to it?

In one study at the University of Southampton, elderly participants who played bingo regularly had superior performance on several tasks compared with their nonplaying peers. This could be because playing improves hand-eye coordination and mental agility.

The Emotional Bingo game by Childswork/Childsplay helps kids identify their feelings.

Learning to name your emotions

Children often struggle to articulate what they’re feeling, but research has shown that learning emotion words can help them recognize and understand their own emotions better. The Emotional Bingo game includes 32 Bingo Cards, Tokens and a Leader’s Guide with discussion guidelines and counseling suggestions; digital and print versions are both available for either in-person groups or remote students.

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