About RetroSparX: Memory Games for Seniors
Memory games for seniors spark memories back to life!
Each memory game features an historical event or figure and can be played individually or in groups. I hope you enjoy them!
About RetroSparX founder, Amy Lewtas
I have loved every minute of bringing my dream for RetroSparX to life. I retired from the practice of law many years ago to raise my three children. When my eldest son was in his later years of high-school, my mother, an inspiring woman and much-loved family doctor, developed dementia. While the exact nature of her disease was never fully identified (as she showed aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body disease and vascular dementia), her decline was steady and pronounced. It was heartbreaking to watch as her memories peeled away. Her mind wandered farther into the past, dredging up experiences and people that we often did not recognize. But while we, as her children, may have been puzzled by some of her recollections, it was clear that they brought her a measure of comfort. And for that we were grateful.
Through this experience, I became intrigued by the potential of memory, and how deeply it is woven into one’s identity. We are the sum total of our experiences, and those experiences are catalogued in our memories, providing context and texture to our lives. Having those memories begin to slip away is disorienting and distressing. RetroSparX was conceived as a means of sparking memories back to life – reminding seniors of the richness of their personal histories and of their connections to the world around them.
I did not need to dig very deeply to discover how the many outstanding events and personalities of the recent past have left an impact upon an entire generation of today’s seniors. And I have seen first hand how exploring that recent past is fun and beneficial for seniors. Sharing and comparing personal histories builds bonds among seniors and is a way of reaffirming one’s place in the broader world. But I have also observed how delving into the past is enriching for the entire community surrounding seniors, be they friends, family or other caregivers. With our concise, topical narratives, we seek to remind seniors of some of these extraordinary events, and to consolidate those memories through engaging games and activities.
The Science of RetroSparX
There are countless scientific studies that have sought to explain the alarming incidence of loneliness, social isolation and depression among seniors (especially those suffering dementia or cognitive decline), and to understand their negative effect on physical and cognitive well-being. While there are numerous recommended therapies to ward off loneliness, social withdrawal and depression, the research underscores the importance of,
- therapies that promote social connections and intellectual engagement,
- the nurturing of group relationships and social interactions beyond just one-on-one engagement, and
- reminiscing, insofar as it counteracts feelings of negative self-worth and isolation from the world.
Each of these aspirations lies at the heart of RetroSparX. Our memory game units are designed not only to reignite a memory in a fun and creative context, but also to provide a platform for social interaction and collaborative sharing. In the immediacy of the present, it is easy to lose sight of one’s memories. Let us help you take a step back in time. And we hope to make that mental journey as fun and rewarding as possible.
The Process of RetroSparX
Each RetroSparX unit consists of a narrative and two related memory games or activities. This is how it works.
Let our short narratives remind you of something remarkable from your past – an historical event that left an impact, a nail-biting sports game, a musical artist who got you dancing or a show that gripped your attention. We draw from a broad range of topics, from current events to sporting contests, scientific breakthroughs to cultural trends.
Together with friends or family, take some time to discuss your own connections to or impressions of the event described in the narrative. No two perspectives on history will ever be entirely the same. So let yourself learn from others, just as they learn from you.
Jump into the unique games and activities that are part of each unit. They will further jog your memory. If possible, we encourage you to complete the games in a collaborative setting, taking advantage of the life experience of others, and building personal connections along the way.
Sparking Memories. Building Brainpower.
At RetroSparX, we acknowledge that everyone has their own personal style of engaging with their memories. Some may wish to read and complete a unit on their own, or with a caregiver. Others may find it more rewarding to gather together a group of family or friends to tackle a unit. And still others will have the opportunity to enjoy a unit in an organized group activity setting. We applaud all these options, and we are grateful that you have allowed us to help you take a walk back in time.