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Famous Duos Game – Alzheimer’s & Dementia Activity

Famous Duos game and activity cards created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

Learn to make (or download mine) a Famous Duos Game for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

This senior-friendly game is easy to customize specifically for your loved one and can be used as an independent activity or played as a game with others.

My mom is currently in the mid-moderate stages of Alzheimer’s. She has significant trouble recalling recent events, but can still remember much of her past. The Famous Duos Game is perfect for her! The game cards can be customized with famous people and characters she still remembers which creates success! Her success equals a fun activity she wants to do again and again.

I’ll walk you through how I made a customized Famous Duos game for my mom. All you really need to make this game is card stock or index cards.

How to Create a Customized Famous Duos Game for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

Make Your List

Start by making a list of famous couples or characters your loved one knows. For example,

  • Dorothy and Toto
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Adam and Eve

Famous Duos List created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

In the middle stages of dementia, recent memories are usually lost, but some memories from long ago can still be intact. So pick duos your loved one knows from decades ago. Think about movie stars, television characters, or cartoons. If you’re not sure if your loved one knows the duo, ask! This way you ensure success with the activity.

If they don’t know it when you ask, cross it off the list. Even if they say, “Oh yes, I know that”, once you tell them the answer, they probably aren’t going to remember it later.

Make the Playing Cards

Once you have your list, you’re ready to make the playing cards.

  • For a super easy, quick, and low tech set of cards, simply write the name of each person or character on your list on an index card.

Famous Duos activity cards created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

  • For a printed set of cards, create them in your favorite word processing program, print on card stock, and cut. (See how to get a copy of my cards in a pdf printable below.)

Free printable Famous Duos activity cards created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

Free printable Famous Duos activity created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

Play the Game

Here are a few ways we use our game cards. I bet there are more! I’d love to hear your ideas!

Option 1 – Famous Duos Matching Game

Have your loved one match each card with the missing member of the duo. Reduce the number of cards as necessary for your loved one’s functioning level. With Mom, I use 8-10 duos at a time. I put one member of each duo in a grid and then give her the matches in a line in front of her. This set-up creates the most success for her.

Famous Duos Matching Game created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

Option 2 – Famous Duos Go Fish – 2 or more players

Deal each player 7 cards. Place the remaining cards face down in a deck. Each player uses their turn to ask the other player for the missing half of one of their duos. For example, if a player had the Cinderella card, she would ask, “Do you have Prince Charming?”  If the player does not have Prince Charming, the asking player draws from the deck. If the player happens to draw Prince Charming, she gets another turn. The player with the most pairs when the deck is gone wins.

This is a great version of the game if you have kids!

Famous Duos Card Game created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

Option 3 – Famous Duos Quiz Game

Sometimes we play this like a quiz in the car or while waiting in a doctor’s office.  I keep a copy of the duo list in my planner, so I always have it with me. We had a little old lady join in with us once at the doctor’s office! ?Full disclosure – I only play the quiz game in public when I have at least one of my kids with us. ?

Famous Duos activity created for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

Cognitive Stimulation for Alzheimer’s Patients

The doctor my mom sees at the Alzheimer’s clinic says to include cognitive stimulation like word games and puzzles in her daily activities. He says it may slow her decline. Famous Duos definitely gets Mom engaged and thinking. And it’s one of her favorite activities. If you have a loved one with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia I encourage you to give Famous Duos a try.

Download My Game Cards

No time to create your own customized game? I’ve got you covered! My resource library has a list of 55 well-known duos as well as pdf card printables for you to print at home. Get the password to my free resource library of Alzheimer’s activities and caregiver resources when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter list! Fill out the form below for instant access!

Want to remember this?

Save Famous Duos to your favorite Pinterest Board!

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Need more Alzheimer’s activity ideas? Check out our huge list here.

Huge list of over 75 caregiver recommended Alzheimer's and dementia activities. #alzheimers #dementia

Thank you for sharing!

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8 Comments

  1. I work on a memory care unit and on weekends it is especially hard to keep the residents from wandering and just being bored. These ideas are great! Thanks for sharing your expertise!

  2. Additional variations: 1) Add photos to the cards, 2) Actors and their characters, 3) Family and friends (e.g. couples, siblings); 4) Anything else that might be paired: food, clothes, furniture, household items & related rooms, store/restaurant name & logo, serving utensils & food/dish, animal or bird male/female or mother/child pairs, plants/nature, sports teams & logo/mascot/color, ADL related (e.g. toothbrush & toothpaste); occupational, hobby, or religious items.

  3. I just wanted to thank you for the activities you mentioned. My mom was just diagnosed with early dementia and I try to find her some things to entertain her and these will definitely help

    1. Hi Heather,
      I’m sorry about your mom’s diagnosis. Keeping Mom somewhat entertained has been a sanity saver for me and really good for her. I think you will find it’s worth it to plan activities. If you haven’t already, join my FB group for caregivers. It’s called Alzheimer’s Activity Zone. Lots of caregivers there sharing great activity ideas! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Anne

  4. These are great ideas, and I am looking forward to trying them with my husband. He was diagnosed 6 years ago (he is 69 now. I’m trying to keep him occupied. He tends to get into mischief when left to his own devices. Getting him dressed is a particularly big challenge. Any ideas on how to cope with that?

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