A game typically dominated by a younger crowd is making its way to an older generation. Parkway Place, a nonprofit senior living community, is now offering Bunco for its residents. The community has played twice so far, and both times were a success with over two dozen residents participating. Most of the residents knew of Bunco, but none of them ever played before the community hosted its own games. Parkway Place resident Jo Ann Wenske is from Yoakum, Texas and she always heard “the young kids” talking about the game. The 80-year-old is an avid bridge player, and wanted to give Bunco a try. Other residents decided to join because their daughters play in Bunco groups. Now they won’t stop playing the social dice game! According to AARP, scientists now believe that social interaction is key to maintaining good mental health and warding off disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Many recent studies document the positive effects of social interaction. Research also shows that friendship boosts happiness, reduces stress, improves self-confidence and encourages positive change.
“It’s a great way to keep our minds sharp and alert while socializing,” said Wenske. “It was one of the best evenings I’ve had in a long time. It was full of friendship and was an enjoyable activity. I am glad the community brought the game here. Parkway Place is always offering fun activities for us, and this game is no different. It is exciting to learn something new, and they really hit it out of the park with this game. We love it.”
The game is simple. It’s played in two to four sets, with six rounds in each set. A player at the head table rings a bell to signal the beginning and end of each round. During the game, players at each table take turns rolling three dice to try and earn points. At the end of the game, there are typically multiple winners. The player with the most Buncos, wins, losses, etc. may earn prizes for their successes.
“When we first started I didn’t expect to catch on so quick, but I did,” Wenske said. “When you think of bridge or other social games, they tend to be hard to pick up on, but Bunco was easy for us to do. I look forward to playing each month and getting more residents to join each time.”
This is the first time the community has offered Bunco for residents. They encourage residents to reach out to the staff if they are interested in bringing an activity to the community. Right now, they play Bunco once a month.
“We’ve had a great response to the game,” said Mary Green, life enrichment coordinator. “I’m not sure we expected this much success, but we will take it! We love to see the residents joining in on the fun and talking with one another. It is especially rewarding to know that many of the residents can share Bunco stories with their daughters or granddaughters who also play with their friends. We love adding trendy and interesting activities as options in our community, and we are already looking forward to the next game.”