Devastating conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia are debilitating to anyone affected by them, along with those who love them. Thankfully, research has proven games to be one way to improve the brain’s function and perhaps even fend off the development of these incapacitating illnesses. The following are a few of the best options for seniors to keep the brain sharp and active:
This type of puzzle has you fill in a word based on a short clue. There are many varieties of difficulties, for every intellectual level. You can also find word cross games on tablets, phones, via your computer, in print form or in the paper.
Since its conception in 1979, Sudoku puzzles have been addictive fun for people all over the world. The basic concept of Sudoku is simple. You use the current pattern to fill in the blanks, entering numbers 1-9. Each row, both vertically and horizontally must contain differing numbers, never repeating a number, until the puzzle is filled in. The “planning” aspect of this game helps improve concentration and short-term memory. You can access Sudoku games online from a phone, tablet or computer as well as find them in print format if that is your preference in many stores. A good tip to remember when playing Sudoku is to use a pencil with an eraser instead of a pen as it often requires a bit of erasing to complete.
This is of course a multiplayer game, meaning you will need to ask some friends or family members to play along with you. There are many benefits of this game, beyond the social interactions. It is a relaxing game that lowers blood pressure and improves memory function. Although this is typically a game played with a group on a traditional board setting, there are some downloadable solo versions you can play if desired.
Modern Game Systems
Some games created for modern game systems, such as Nintendos have been proven effective at improving mental capacity in players. For example, you can get Brain Age for Nintendo DS. The DS is a handheld game system that allows you to improve your memory, concentration and calculation abilities.
Perhaps the stereotype of an elderly person sitting in the park playing chess has some merit as the game of chess is actually very beneficial for seniors. In fact, according to research, seniors aged 75 and older who regularly play chess are far less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s and other disorders impacting the brain. It is believed to be a result of the way the game of chess stimulates the brain activity. Chess engages both the creative and logical side of the brain, making it an especially effective exercise for older individuals. You can play chess traditionally on a board with a friend or family member or download a digital version on your tablet, computer or phone.
Unfortunately, since dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases are not understood in their entirety, there is no guarantee that keeping your brain stimulated, sharp and active will prevent these devastating illnesses. However, there is ample research that proves the types of games listed above do at least help to keep your brain sharp as you move into your twilight years, making them at least worth a try.