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Brain games provide benefits to long-term mental function

It’s long been known that playing brain games—trivia, crossword puzzles, Sudoku and the like—help seniors stave off memory loss and stimulate mental function. The mental health benefits of brain games are substantial and long-lasting. They’re especially effective when combined with other aspects of wellness such as physical fitness, an active social life and a healthy diet.

The Benefits of Brain Games for Seniors

Mental Sharpness Boost

Brain games act as a gymnasium for the mind, flexing cognitive muscles and enhancing mental sharpness. They stimulate various cognitive functions such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and reasoning, helping seniors keep their minds agile and engaged. Recent research cited by Senior Living suggests that learning a new skill—as opposed to memory recall—may have benefits as well. That means that learning new board games, video games, or handheld apps may be even more beneficial for mental acuity.

Memory Improvement

As we age, our memory can sometimes become a little rusty. Brain games provide an excellent workout for memory-related skills. By challenging seniors to recall information, remember sequences, or match patterns, these games help improve their memory abilities and promote better information retention.

solved sudoku puzzle in a newspaper

Enhanced Focus and Attention

Concentration is like a superhero power for the mind, and brain games are its secret training program. By engaging in activities that require focused attention, brain games can enhance their ability to concentrate and stay mentally present. This can have a positive impact on daily tasks and improve overall productivity.

Stress Reduction

Engaging in these games allows seniors to take a break from daily worries and immerse themselves in fun challenges. The playful nature of brain games can promote relaxation, uplift mood, and provide a sense of accomplishment, ultimately reducing stress levels.

Social Engagement

Brain games often come in interactive formats, making them a fantastic avenue for social engagement. Seniors can participate in group activities or compete with friends, family, or fellow enthusiasts. This social interaction adds an extra layer of enjoyment and can help combat feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Dementia Prevention

While brain games alone cannot guarantee the prevention of dementia, they have been shown to play a role in reducing the risk. In one study, a group of seniors was tracked over five years. It was determined that playing trivia games was likely to help prevent dementia (versus those who did not play trivia games).

Fun and Entertainment

Last but not least, brain games are simply a lot of fun! They provide a source of entertainment that combines learning with enjoyment.

Who says keeping the mind active can’t be an absolute blast?


7 Fun Brain Games for Seniors

1. Trivia

Trivia games are available online, via desktop and mobile apps, and as old-fashioned board games. The classics like Trivial Pursuit come in a number of editions, from Baby Boomer to Book Lovers and even The Beatles. Along with memory, many of these games are played with groups at senior living communities or at home, which can combat feelings of loneliness.

2. Scrabble

Letter-tile games like Scrabble and Upwords provide more interactive benefits than more passive games like word finds. AARP’s Staying Sharp website has a wealth of games available for its members.

scrabble tiles spread across a board. Scrabble makes an excellent brain game for seniors by exercising language and memory

3. Crossword Puzzles

Some things are classics for a reason. Crosswords challenge recall, language skills and critical thinking, and can be completed online, in a newspaper or as part of a team. There’s even a host of free large print crossword puzzles available online to make solving them a cinch.

4. Chess

Chess is a strategic game that exercises the mind and improves concentration, memory, and logical thinking. Online chess platforms like Chess.com allow seniors to play against computer opponents or challenge other players worldwide.

5. Sudoku

Sudoku puzzles are excellent for enhancing logic and critical thinking. Many websites and mobile apps provide free Sudoku puzzles of varying difficulty levels, allowing seniors to challenge themselves and sharpen their number-crunching abilities.

6. Card Games

Classic card games like Solitaire or Bridge can be played online or in person, providing mental stimulation and strategic thinking. Many gaming platforms offer multiplayer options, allowing seniors to connect and play with friends or other enthusiasts.

7. Pictionary and Charades

These interactive games encourage creativity, communication, and cognitive flexibility. Seniors can form teams and take turns drawing or acting out words or phrases while others guess the answer. It’s a fun and engaging way to exercise imagination and socialize with others.

Embrace an Active Retirement at Monarch Landing

Monarch Landing’s activities include a wealth of trivia and brain games. Crossword puzzles, word searches and more are distributed every Saturday at the information station on the first floor of the clubhouse. Each weekday morning includes a brain teaser, from riddles to trivia and guessing games. Check out Monarch Landing’s engaging community life.