Brain Stimulating Games for SeniorsDecember 3, 2019
Here’s the good news: Your doctor says you should have more fun.
Playtime isn’t just for kids, it’s important for everyone. But it might be particularly so for seniors, because games can help restore or prolong our vitality. In fact, studies continue to show that play and fun activities — for older adults or people of any age — can have several major benefits, such as:
- Improve how your brain works
Playing and having fun on a regular basis can enhance your creativity and mental sharpness and help you avoid memory problems. This mental stimulation can also help prevent cognitive decline.
- Establish or maintain relationships
Fun and play can help seniors make new friends or improve existing relationships. After all, things like laughter and friendly competition are known to increase trust, empathy, and intimacy among people who experience them together.
- Improve mental and emotional well-being
Engaging in fun and playful activities can increase your optimism and reduce your stress. It can even help you prevent depression.
- Improve physical health
Creating fun moments in your life can be a good way to boost your immune system, reduce your risk of illness, and minimize your perception of any existing pain you might already have.
Just go play
At Essex Meadows, we keep a full calendar so residents always have the opportunity for organized activities. A few that fall into the fun-and-games category include:
- Physical games: ping-pong, shuffleboard and pool games
- Brain games: Organized trivia events, Scrabble and bridge
- Social games: billiards, bridge and bingo
Of course, there are infinite informal and non-scheduled games to be played too. You can engage in brain-stimulating pastimes anywhere and at any time. Here are some tried and true favorites:
Bridge lovers say this game is every bit as strategic and intellectually demanding as a game like chess, but also an inherently social game. It’s the synergistic combination of the strategic and social aspects of the game that makes it so popular with seniors.
- Crossword puzzles
Crosswords are great brain games, because they require you to use your memory recall function to find the words being asked for. They also help a senior’s association capabilities, since they need to match the clues with the word that fits the box, which helps fight the symptoms of dementia. Puzzles are easily accessible online, in book format and in your daily newspaper.
- Jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are excellent games for helping seniors improve their short-term memory functions. Research has even shown that “clicking” – the act of finding and connecting two correct pieces – releases dopamine, which is associated with happiness and an overall improved sense of well-being. This neurotransmitter can help improve levels of concentration. Jigsaw puzzles are also perfect so solve in groups.
Sudoku is a fun brain game for people of all ages and abilities. This logic game involves problem-solving and looking for number patterns. In addition to being mentally stimulating and improving your concentration power, these puzzles can help improve your memory skills.
There’s been much research into just how beneficial this popular strategy game is. For seniors, studies suggest that anybody over the age of 75 who plays chess is far less likely to develop mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, since this is a brain-stimulating activity.
One of the most popular board games ever, chess is all about strategy, planning ahead and thinking outside the box – simply put, it’s a great activity for those of all ages.
This game is a variant on Scrabble. But rather than taking turns, players race against each other to form sets of connecting and intersecting words. The first player to use all their tiles shouts “Bananas!” and wins the hand. For seniors coping with vision issues, there is a version of the game with larger, easy-to-read tiles.
- Trivia games
Trivia competitions have become a popular activity for people of all ages, but it can be especially helpful for seniors who want to exercise their recall skills. These games encourage seniors to recall past events or facts they’ve learned throughout their lives. One of the best parts of playing a trivia game is that they come in a number of categories, and players can choose based on their interests.
One of the most common activities of older adults, this is a fun, easy activity that can be played in large or small groups. Bingo is a great social activity that can help reduce loneliness and increase a sense of well-being.
Research shows that using your muscles helps your mind. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells. At our community, we have plenty of fun games that keep you moving, including ping-pong, shuffleboard, billiards and golf.
If you’d like to know more about Essex Meadows and see our full calendar of activities, contact us here. We’ll be in touch soon.