Cognitive Training with Modern Board and Card Games in Healthy Older Adults: Two Randomized Controlled Trials
Ibarz Estruga, Ana
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Objectives. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a cognitive intervention based on modern board and card games. Methods. We conducted two two-arm parallel-group, randomized controlled trials. The first one (pilot study) was non-blind. The second one (main study) was a doubleblind design. Participants (14 in a pilot study and 35 in the main study) were healthy older adults over 65 years old who were assisting to adult care institutions. In the pilot study, participants in the experimental group (n=6) played modern board and card games which activated cognitive processes; whereas the control group (n=6) was in the wait-list condition. In the main study, participants in the experimental group (n=12) also played modern board and card games; whereas the control group (n=15) performed standardized paper-and-pencil cognitive tasks. Psychologists specialized in older-people conducted all the interventions. In both studies, intervention sessions were bi-weekly for 5 weeks. The outcomes of both studies were cognitive status and executive functioning, depressive symptomatology, and quality of life measures. All assessment and intervention sessions took place in their habitual centers. Results. In the pilot study, participants in the games intervention showed a significant improvement in semantic verbal fluency. In the main study, both interventions showed significant improvements in phonemic verbal fluency. Whilst board and card games maintained motor impulsivity control, paper-and-pencil tasks improved speed in an inhibition task. Conclusions. Modern board and card games could be an effective cognitive intervention to maintain some cognitive functions.