Keep your loved one playing some dementia brain games. Hangman is one of those games.

white notebook paper with the start of a hangman word game

Early Learning Activities

Quite a few years ago, when I taught a K-2 class, our classroom had what was then thought of as new technology – a Smartboard. 

I found early learning websites and used the Smartboard to have my students play Hangman, among other activities. It was a great way to get them to practice consonant and vowel patterns.

Besides getting the kids up and moving around, the Smartboard allowed for bright color, sound, action – all the things that young kids want.

Best of all, the kids could touch the board and manipulate things around. Heck, even I enjoyed that part of it.

Thinking about this got me to thinking about having your loved ones with dementia play hangman. 

Hangman Games

So, I started doing a little research and have 7 websites where your loved one can play hangman.

Sure, a few of these sites may be a little too young. But that’s going to depend upon the cognitive level of your loved one. Some of these sites may be too hard, too easy or just right!

I did not pursue any type of logging into a website to set anything up. I was just looking for free hangman games you could pull up to provide some cognitive brain exercises for your loved one.

On this site, you have the choice of 5 categories of words and you can play this as 1 or 2 players.

This site apparently decided to go the PC route as instead of the traditional “hangman” they have pencils that break in half if you guess incorrectly. You score by points allotted to each remaining pencil.

The only thing I didn’t like about this site is the sound effects. They are quite startling. I couldn’t find a way to turn off the sound so I would suggest that if you play on this site, you turn your sound volume down.

Keep in mind that this site was designed in 2010 by a former English as a Second Language teacher. Don’t be expecting bells and whistles on this site. It is pretty basic and not very colorful.

However, that may be a good thing when you’re working with someone who has dementia. The less distractions the better.

There are several reasons why I like this version. It has 30 different categories so there is a lot of variety.

The audio can be turned off. When you solve a word, a picture of that word pops up and the word is spoken so it does reinforce language.

I like that it doesn’t count against you when you click on a vowel that isn’t in the word.

A round consists of 10 words. If you don’t solve a word and end up with a hangman, that’s the end of the round and you start over.

I found it really humorous that whether you won a round or lost, you got the same ominous sounding music!

This is probably my least favorite of this group.

You try to guess the word that fits in the sentence.

You click on the letter and the mouse goes over to grab a chunk of cheese if it’s a letter contained in the word. If the letter is not in the word, the mouse goes back empty handed.

There are 4 levels of words to choose from and they range from 2nd grade to 8th grade science words.

What I don’t care for is the noise when the mouse grabs the cheese. It sounds like someone passing gas so I’m sure kids enjoy that!

So, that’s another one that I would turn the volume down on.

However, when you guess the word correctly, the sentence is read with the word. 

If you’re on a laptop that uses a trackpad, when you track over the letter, the letter name is spoken.

Personally,  I think this one is more for adults as their categories are ones that are more challenging than basic reading and learning skills.

You are more likely to reach hangman on this one faster as incorrect vowels are counted against you.

I could see this as being potentially frustrating to your loved one. If you have the time you might go through a game first on your own to see if your loved one can have success with a certain category.

Using the little gear wheel at the start, you are able to turn off the sound and you can change the background color. I did not find this sound offensive at all – it just makes a little “beep” sound.

I found this game to be kinda hard because of the words they are using. This is definitely not a hangman game for kids.

You have the option of playing with others via social media, or playing by yourself timed or untimed. There are no categories to choose from. What you see is what you get!

There is the option, using the gear wheel in the upper right corner, to turn off animation and sound.

The sound is not offensive. One tone for correct guesses and one tone for incorrect. The letter colors also change once you have clicked on them.

My only negative comment about this game, and it’s minor, is that the letters in the word are too close together. This may be hard for some people with cognitive disorders.

hangman game started in chalk on chalkboard with overlay of Dementia Brain Games

This hangman version has at least 18 categories to choose including sports, movies, books and people. Surely there’s a category that your loved one will like.

This one is much more adult oriented.

Best of all, there is no annoying music, tones, or beeps. 

Letters that are correct turn green and incorrect letters turn red with a body part being added.

There is no score that is kept, nor does there seem to be a round of “x” number of words. It appears that the game would just continue on until the person gets tired of it or wants to switch to a different category.

One negative factor on this website is all the annoying ads that appear on the right side and the bottom of the page.

I attempted to shrink my screen on the right side. That worked except for a small video that moved over with the screen. One way to cover that little video movement would be to open another window and move it over to cover the right side. Or move your screen to the right so that only the game is visible.

You have 2 versions with this one. The regular version and one called Wild West Hangman.

Both versions have the same 6 categories.

The audio can be turned off.

There are annoying ads that you have to skip through to start play. You can make the screen bigger and that will eliminate the distraction of the ads on the side.

This is more challenging than the other ones.

Why Games are good for People with Dementia

Games stimulate the brain.

We need to have our loved ones exercise their brains. Even we need to do that and continue to do as we get older.

Don’t let the brain stagnate. Even with our loved ones as they age and have difficulty with cognitive skills, keep them active and doing what they like or liked to do once upon a time.

My mom, eventually got to the point where she couldn’t complete a puzzle. Once upon a time, she did 3 crossword puzzles daily along with the cryptoquote.

As the caregiver, you will have to be the judge. If they liked word games, now you have 7 sites for hangman variations. 

If they didn’t like word games, you can work with them and maybe they will enjoy playing one of these versions.

By the way, take some time yourself for a little self-care. Take some time out and play your own game or 2 of hangman!