There's a New Game in Town

Unique Games for Older Adults Stimulate and Activate Competitive Nature

Games for Older Adults
Shaloobee!. Doug Sweet

One thing every new activity director quickly learns: residents love games! Games of chance, games of intellectual challenge and games of skill! Games break up the routine, bring people together and allow everyone to challenge and often surprised themselves, their families and their friends with their accomplishment.

Knowing this, Doug Sweet, created New Challenge Activities, large scale skill games designed for people of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs.

He designed table model games such as bocce, that can be rented for use by long term care and assisted living communities in Western, New York state with plans to expand to other locations.

His passion for games is rooted in his lifelong passion for people that began with his father.

“My father was a director of Goodwill Industries in Buffalo and I worked at developmentally disabled residences while in school. Many of my family members spent time in residential care environments,” Sweet said. “Those experiences developed in me a respect for people going through life with challenges I was not facing.”

“My vision for New Challenge Activities is to design games with universal appeal that are specifically not adaptations of existing games, instead, they are new to everyone. All participants are starting at “square one.” I have seen many individuals engage with the games and become experts in the room in minutes.

“The challenge for me is to combine all the elements that make a good game into a portable activity system that can be utilized over and over at various sites. I am committed to the three dimensional, real time, not processor-based game environment. The tactile, kinetic and auditory character of the games make them immediately engaging.

They feel, move and sound fun!”

New Challenge Activities games are:

  •  CARROM-O!, an exciting rebound game.  Each player gets a chance to bounce the floating soccer ball so it stops on the spot.  If all the holes are covered you get CARROM-O!
  • BOCCEBALL! A classic lawn game scaled down for indoor or outdoor fun!  Two people or teams toss a quality billiard ball on the grassy surface to get nearest the palino (little ball).  Score and win just like the real outdoor version.  Great fun and easy to master.
  • MINIPUTT! Tap the ball with the special putter.  Each hole has a value.  Score the hardest holes first to get the highest total and block your opponent!  Everyone can score a hole in one.
  • SHUFFAL-O Slide the puck into the hole by bank shots.  They go quicker than you think!  Various games can be played using these colorful disks and super slick table top!

For the activity director, New Challenge Activities game rentals eliminates the need to handle setting up and cleaning up after an event. The benefits for residents are, exercising hand- eye coordination, focusing and targeting experience, satisfaction at scoring goals, learning a new skill and of course socializing with others and sharing successful outcomes.

“I have been told specifically by some of the directors that they were amazed at some of the individuals playing and enjoying themselves. Many times I hear “I never saw John (often male) play anything before” from some of the direct care facilitators,” Sweet said. Most of his game packages are $100 to $200 in rental fees. At this fee level, the games will simultaneously engage between 10 and 20 individuals at a time.

“Our residents become easily involved with New Challenge Activities, engaging motor skills and eye-hand coordination in ways that we would not be able to offer without Doug and his creative games,” said Jan Seville-DeBack, CTRS, Activities Director, Leroy Village Green, Leroy, New York.

 “The social atmosphere & comradery quickly becomes the milieu as the positive addiction of these games creates an atmosphere of fun! And, we don’t even have to set up, strike or store the equipment!”

“New Challenge Activities Games have added a new dimension to our special events. We have Doug every year for our annual car show/block party and it is wonderful how the games are easy to play for all ages,” said Rose Kusmierczyk, Activities Director, Beechwood Continuing Care Community, Buffalo New York.

“The greatest fun is watching one of our residents playing the game with their grandchildren. Doug is always early to set up for the event and it sure helps with those early arrivers. Doug stays right with the games and is always there to help everyone. There are so many games to choose from for the different level of abilities. We wouldn't have an event without New Challenge Activities games. Thanks Doug for helping us provide more variety in our recreational programs.”