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11 Great Brain Games for Seniors (and Everyone Else!)
Keeping the brain stimulated and healthy in retirement has never been easier. Today, we understand more about the brain and how to keep it in great shape through games and training systems. Although the evidence is mixed on what brain games are best for keeping cognitive skills sharp, playing games that challenge the brain may help and also provide a little fun at the same time.
Whether it’s for the mental workout or just for fun, seniors can’t lose by playing these games.
- BrainHQ offers brain games to exercise “memory, attention, brain speed, people skills, intelligence and navigation” developed over 30 years of research by an international team of neuroscientists.
- CogniFit is a brain training program that lets users test themselves and personalize the games to fit their needs. CogniFit has been independently published and reviewed in scientific publications including several papers specifically about use by older adults.
- Lumosity offers a variety of games related to memory as well as problem solving, processing speed and other cognitive skills. Games can be tailored to each individual’s needs. Progress tracking and insights are also available.
- Memory matching games are also fun for people with diagnosed memory loss such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They can play them alone or with family to make it more stimulating and an enjoyable time around a game table. Another option is puzzles, which according to the dementiainsider.com blog, “Puzzles and Games for Dementia Patients,” will engage loved ones and may help reduce dementia symptoms.
- Trivia games are other memory challengers that are most fun played in a group. Board games like Trivial Pursuit Baby Boomer Edition are excellent, or questions can be taken from online sites like those in Suddenly Senior’s blog, “Best Trivia Questions for Seniors: Easy and Fun Quizzes.”
- For those who love board games, the aginggreatly.com blog, “28 Best Board Games for Senior Citizens” looks at all the classics and a few new ones and explains the objectives as well as what each has to offer such as improving logical thinking, language skills, problem solving, and more.
- Word games are another category that never loses its appeal and can be on a board, paper, online, or on apps. These games include word searches, anagram puzzles and word scrambles, and crossword puzzles.
- Handheld, 3-dimensional games like Rubik’s Cube, shape shifters, and wooden and wire puzzles are options that can be pretty challenging and downright addictive. They also provide good exercise for arthritic hands and fingers and are portable for those who like a little fun on the road.
- Games of strategy like chess and checkers are great but don’t forget about classic board games like Backgammon, Battleship, Risk, Mastermind, Monopoly, and Clue. For more great games of strategy, check out the Reader’s Digest blog, “15 Strategy Board Games You’ll Love (and Where to Get Them).”
- Among the all-time favorites of people of all ages are card games. Played alone or with one or more friends or family members, card games are great brain games. Of course, bridge is a favorite among older adults but games like Solitaire, Hearts, Poker, and Uno require the use of short-term memory, strategic thinking, problem solving and other skills that gain from the exercise. For more reasons to play card games, thetreatmentspecialist.com blog, “Playing Card Games: 7 Surprising Mental Health Benefits,” spells them out.
- According to the Scientific American article, “Our Brains Have a Map for Numbers,” we process numbers and related concepts like quantity in a certain area of our brains. So, for those who don’t use numbers as much as they used to, games that use numbers may offer a fun way to sharpen that skillset. For great game apps try the list from mindgames.com or for more of a workout, take a look at the math games in the How Stuff Works blog, “5 Challenging Math Games.”
Game playing is good for the brain but also just for fun. At One Lincoln Park we go the extra mile to make sure our residents have all the entertaining and challenging games and activities they want to stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally.