Keeping mentally active with various games is a good strategy for senior health. A number of studies and findings acknowledge that brain games can help maintain and even strengthen such areas as memory, reasoning and speed of processing, according to the National Institutes of Health. Other studies confirm that brain games for seniors can encourage independence, lower the risk of dementia and even prevent falls.
Some of the other major benefits of brain games include:
- Connecting with loved ones– Playing games with family or grandchildren can help seniors maintain a connection with them. Many games can be played online, enabling interaction with those who live far away.
- Exercising the mind– Brain games stimulate different brain memory functions in seniors, such as executive function and processing speed.
- Giving a feeling of control– Brain exercises can help seniors get and maintain a positive outlook. Learning and mastering a new game gives these seniors a sense of accomplishment.
- Making new brain connections– Challenging your mind with new activities will, in theory, develop new connections in your brain, strengthening memory.
- Preventing isolation – Playing games with others has the benefit of companionship. Seniors can join a chess club, have a card night with friends, or work on a jigsaw puzzle with a group.
- Sharpening thinking skills– Games can prevent age-related mental decline just like exercising prevents loss of bone strength and muscle. Brain games can re-engage the mind and improve thinking skills.
The 10 Best Brain Games for Seniors
Bingo is a fun, social game offered at all of our Nightingale Healthcare communities and some senior centers and libraries. It encourages social interaction and memory challenges. Bingo also offers health benefits from participation in the game’s activities, such as hearing when numbers are called out, sight when searching for numbers on the bingo card, and touch when using pieces, markers, or daubers to mark the cards.
This is an easy-to-learn board game for seniors. This game is less about strategy and more about the process of logic and simple hand-eye coordination. Game sets are in many sizes, including ones with large boards and pieces, which can help seniors with arthritis or vision challenges.
Chess is a more complex game of strategy, beneficial for strengthening problem solving and reasoning. Chess can seem complicated at first, but the work is worth it because it can increase brain use and focus. Chess can be played in person or online with other players or alone.
- Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles are everywhere, from daily newspapers to free online sites to books you can purchase at the grocery store or dollar store. These puzzles are a challenge either alone or sitting with a group, everyone helping each other out. If crosswords aren’t appealing, other free word games for seniors can be tried, such as word searches.
- Jigsaw Puzzles
Working on jigsaw puzzles is a wonderful way to fill the hours, either alone or with friends helping out. Jigsaw puzzles involve strategy and problem-solving skills, and they can grow in complexity depending on the number of pieces, the picture design or even the puzzle shape. They are also inexpensive, widely available in dollar stores.
- Online Games
There are dozens of games available online for seniors. Memory games, skill games, word games and more are available in online versions. You can find word searches, jigsaw puzzles and more, many for free, and in multiplayer mode for a social version.
This is a true classic board game for seniors and all ages. Scrabble can be entertaining while exercising memory and can help build your vocabulary. Since it’s a game for at least two people, it is a social game, too.
Solitaire and other card games help keep brains sharp. As one of the most popular card games, solitaire can be played in person or online. Other simple card games, which involve others, include bridge, gin rummy, go fish and hearts.
Sudoku puzzles challenge logic skills and mental abilities, which makes them perfect for seniors looking to stay sharp. Finishing a sudoku puzzle gives a senior a sense of accomplishment. There are many sudoku resources available, from inexpensive books to online sites to apps.
- Trivia Quizzes
Trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit, are a great stimulator of minds and memories. Played in teams, these games are fun and social, and can spark great conversations about shared experiences.
Nightingale Healthcare is a privately held, family-owned healthcare management company located in Bellingham, Washington. Founded in 2014, it has been our mission to serve the communities in which we are located with superior skilled nursing and assisted living services. Our patient-centered approach to care incorporates individualized care plans alongside an unmatched level of compassion, patience, and love.
We proudly operate assisted and independent living communities throughout Washington and Oregon. If you are interested in learning more about our communities and services or in becoming a caregiver with us, please visit our website or contact Nightingale Healthcare directly at 360-656-6609.