Dementia UK supporter, Tom, is what you might call a board games ‘influencer’, running a popular account on Instagram called ‘The Honest Meeple’ on which he posts about the hottest new games.
Last year, Tom put his skills to the test in a mammoth 24-hour board game marathon for Raise Your Game – we caught up with him ahead of this year’s event for some inspiration and expert advice on how you can get competitive and raise money for Dementia UK this October.
Choosing Dementia UK
Dementia UK is a charity very close to my heart, with my grandmother having been diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. This has had a massive impact on both my grandmother and my family, but the work that Dementia UK does helps people cope with a diagnosis like my grandmother’s, and they offer support to those most in need.
Dementia UK does some fantastic work across the UK, so it was an absolute pleasure to be in a position to help raise money for them.
In order to raise money I undertook a 24-hour board game marathon, in which I played lots of different games, both offline and on an online livestream, engaging with loads of different people and having a great time.
I played games like Top of the Pops and Obama Llama. Playing them virtually worked brilliantly, and there were lots of laughs shared by all
Playing through the night
As we settled into the evening, my partner and I ensured we played some awesome games like Super Fantasy Brawl, which is a great two player arena combat game that definitely got us feeling very competitive! Other classics such as Love Letter, Pandemic and Mansions of Madness all made an appearance on the table and ensured we enjoyed our time during the marathon.
While we may have been shattered after it, we managed to successfully complete the full 24 hours, and it felt like a great achievement.
Over the course of the fundraiser, we managed to raise over £400 for Dementia UK, which was an amazing result.
We managed to go one step further though, and with the support of my employer, DHL, we managed to double that total to £806!
Being able to be a part of Raise your Game was a real honour, and it was brilliant being able to raise money while doing something I love. I will certainly be taking part again this year and will aim to raise even more!
If you are thinking of taking part this year, then I really encourage you do anything you can to raise as much as you can. Any support, big or small, would make an amazing difference to Dementia UK.
Advice for your event
In terms of how to fundraise, you could do something like I did and undertake a 24-hour board game marathon. You could look at getting together with your gaming group and doing an event for people who may be new to gaming. You could even look at selling some games and donating the proceeds to Dementia UK.
Whatever you choose to do, your support will be massively appreciated.
Admiral Nurse top tips on hosting a dementia-friendly event
Board games are a great way of bringing together the whole family and, for a person with dementia, games can be really stimulating. Admiral Nurse Hannah Gardner gives some top tips on how to make an event enjoyable and engaging for a relative or friend who has dementia.
Match the game to the person’s ability
Play games that suit the person with dementia’s strengths. It might be best to play games with straightforward rules and quick rounds, like Connect 4 or a jigsaw puzzle. This can help the person with dementia concentrate.
Pick a good time to play
Choose a time of day when the person living with dementia isn’t tired, and try not to play at times when the person is at risk of sundowning (for more information on Sundowning, see the leaflet here).
Ensure distractions in the room are kept to a minimum – turn off the TV or radio and ensure only one person talks at a time. Clear the table with the board on to help the person focus.
Bring together all ages
Involving the whole family can make it a really valuable experience – children can help the person with dementia do things like moving their counters on the board. It can be a fun idea to team up younger generations with older generations.
Make everyone feel included
It’s vital to make sure that the person living with dementia is made to feel included in the fun. It can help to focus on what they can do in the game rather than what they find difficult.
Take a break
Have a break half-way through and offer snacks and a drink – this especially helps if you’re playing longer, more complicated games.
Most importantly, have fun
Focus on the fun side and try not to be too competitive. Remember – the aim of the game is to spend quality time together (and to raise money for Dementia UK, of course!)
Raise your Game
Get together and play the games you love, to fundraise for Dementia UK and help provide more dementia specialist Admiral Nurses