Keep Your Brain Sharp as a Senior With Fun Games

by Bethany
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As we age, our mental and physical health will inevitably decline. There are actions we can take in attempts to prolong life and live as healthily as possible. Physical activity such as exercise and sports can keep our body fit and limber, and possibly increase our body’s ability to ward off certain illnesses, both physical and mental. Mental activity such as brain games can keep your mind sharp and preserve your intelligence. Research has been conducted to find out the impact of various brain fitness games on slowing or alleviating the symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Keep Your Brain Sharp as a Senior With Fun Games

Although results aren’t conclusive, more and more scientists and physicians are supporting and recommending the use of brain games to fight the ravages of time to our health and vitality. Studies have shown that learning to do things where we gain new knowledge, such as a second language, is beneficial to memory and cognitive abilities. Seniors can do online brain activities, pursue new hobbies, learn to juggle, build a computer; the possibilities for acquiring information are endless. Learning to do new things in general is good for your brain, and along with physical exercise, brain training, and the required amount of sleep, the elderly population can reap the benefits by improving their cognitive skills, reasoning ability, and overall well being.

Brain Games for Seniors

Brain games have become very popular as an aid to help seniors to keep their brains sharp, and as a tool to treat the diminished cognitive abilities of those suffering from symptoms of diseases like dementia. There’s a connection between brain games for the elderly and a boost to their cognitive abilities and brain function. It’s good to gently challenge the brain to develop new ways of thinking and reasoning. It can become frustrating if there’s too much pressure, and that may be harmful, so learning easy tasks and taking your time with more challenging activities will bring about growth in new and different ways.

Online brain activities were developed to help users exercise the brain to keep it as healthy as possible. There are a variety of activities, with some specifically geared towards the elderly population, including jigsaw puzzles, word and memory games, and the well known Sudoku. Many popular pastimes such as chess, mahjong, and backgammon which are available online, are thought to strengthen the brain, as well as memory.

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Word Games for Seniors

Word games are a good way for seniors to challenge themselves and stimulate their brain. It is also a good way to increase memory retention and mental acuity. Crossword puzzles are popular with seniors and works various areas of the brain. Scrabble is another well known and favored game that provides enjoyment while exercising the mind. Hangman is a classic and requires only pen and paper. There are many others to choose from that can help to keep seniors mentally active. Lesser known include Rhyming Ball, Complete the Saying, Boggle, and Team Stories.

Rhyming Ball is a combination of fast thinking and passing a ball around. As each player passes the ball, they have to think of a word that rhymes with the previous player’s word. The goal of Complete the Saying is to match the beginning and end of common phrases, which prompts the use of memory. Boggle is similar to Scrabble as players have to create words from random letters. A fun group game that utilizes reasoning and memory is called Team Stories. Everyone takes turns contributing to a story and each player has to remember all the previous additions as the game progresses.

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Senior Skill Games

All states have senior games or olympics, with various contests of different skill levels. For example, a golf competition might consist of skills like the long drive, putting and chip and run. Basketball might be free throw shooting and around the world. There is a national and international sports competition as well. The national event comprises regional competitions of a variety of sports for those aged 50 and over, culminating into what is known as the National Senior Olympics. The international event is made up of 27 different competitions for athletes from around the world. The kinds of sports and skill level are similar to Olympic games held for athletes in younger age groups. Some of the sports are archery, cycling, cowboy action, bridge, horseshoes, shotgun sports, soccer, triathlon, square dancing, and swimming.

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Senior Card Games

Playing cards is a fun pastime that can potentially stop or slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Many seniors have problems with arthritis and movement in general, so playing cards might be a good activity to help with dexterity, while keeping their brains engaged and sharp. Some card playing requires concentration and memorization, while others are simple, and good to keep seniors mentally active. Games like Gin Rummy or Snap would be good choices for seniors suffering from dementia and illnesses with similar symptoms, as you are basically matching cards by number, color, or suite. Complex games that require more concentration and memory skills include bridge, poker, blackjack, cribbage, canasta, and pinochle.

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Engage With Other Seniors

A lot of seniors are very isolated; other than their caretaker or other residents in an institutional setting, they may have few or no regular visitors. Spending time with other seniors that can relate to their circumstances, or just to have someone to talk and laugh with is important to keep seniors involved and living life to the fullest, as much as they’re capable. Their lives aren’t full with work and children and the usual things that occupy the time of most young and middle aged peoples’ lives. Spending time with other seniors and socializing by chatting, playing games or participating in events or activities of mutual interest, can foster friendships and long term relationships, which can help seniors stay active in every way.

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Fun Activity During the Day

There are many fun activities for the elderly to keep them engaged, stimulated, and entertained during daytime hours. These activities can also help to exercise brain functions and improve coordination. Scrapbooking is an enjoyable way of reminiscing and putting those memories in one place, to be visited again and again. Painting and ceramics are a great way to express creativity and feelings, and it also builds confidence. To be able to see the finished product and decorate their space with it is a boost to self esteem. Creating floral arrangements and other forms of arts and crafts is another fun and artistic way to stay active and exercise the mind. Sewing, knitting, and crocheting are simple and easy ways to pass time and is good to maintain dexterity with the hands. Board games are always a hit with seniors and another great way to work the brain.

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Stay Sharp Through Retirement

Maintaining mental acuity throughout your retirement can be done through engaging in activities that use and preserve your intelligence. The elderly should stay active physically and mentally, by socializing with others and participating in pursuits that provide enjoyment as well as health benefits. Among these are many different kinds of games and physical activity. The key is staying active. Physical activity such as riding a bike or playing a sport, even a brisk walk most days would be beneficial. Getting together with friends and family to participate in a good board game, taking up a new hobby, daily exercise, or learning a new language, are some things that can keep the elderly active and healthy, both physically and mentally.