Best Brain Games for Older Adults

| |

As we age, it is important to keep your mind sharp. One of the best ways to do this is by playing memory or brain games. Memory games are a great and fun way to get into training your brain, especially for seniors with memory issues. Whether it is a simple crossword puzzle or playing a strategic game of chess, each one will increase learning and allow your mind to grow. There are many games can be played online or through apps on your phone. Some mind games can be played alone or with a best friend. Whichever, the choice, there are so many ways to test your knowledge and keep your mind working, even well into your 80s and 90s. Here are some of the of best brain games for seniors to play. 

1. Crossword puzzles

One of the best way to increase your brain knowledge and boost your memory is by doing crossword puzzles. Crossword puzzles have been around for ages; they were always found in the local newspapers, magazines, or supermarkets growing up. Plus, there’s a new crossword puzzle to do every day. Getting access to crossword puzzles is now very easy. You can still buy them in the grocery stores, but also play them online or through apps on your phones. Although crossword puzzles are mostly a fun solo game, you can challenge yourself by playing against your best friend. One can choose across lines and the other choosing downward, seeing who will finish first. Crosswords keeps your mind active and can reduce brain age. 

2. Board games

Playing board games is another fun activity that can challenge your brain and keep your memory sharp. For seniors, playing board games can also challenge your critical thinking skills and increase logic. Whether playing at a family game night, or hanging with your friends, the fun never ends. Board games are also great problem-solving exercises, strategic-thinking solutions, and can help with reasoning skills. Whether it is a game of Monopoly, Scrapple, Clue, or the game of Life, these games are fun for all ages. It is also a great way to socialize with the grandkids when they come for a visit. 

3. Sudoku

Seniors may also enjoy playing a game of Sudoku, especially if you are a numbers person than a words expert. Originated in Japan, Sudoku can help seniors with finding the right number for each blank spot of the board. All you need to do is not duplicate the same number for each box. There are also several skill levels when playing Sudoku, whether you are a beginner or someone with an expertise level of playing number games. Similar to crossword puzzles, Sudoku can be found in newspapers or local magazines. You can also play it online. With the increase of technology, the game is available through phone apps as well. Seniors can also buy a game book of Sudoku puzzles. 

4. Checkers

Another classic brain game is checkers. It is not only a fun pastime, it can help seniors with predicting your opponent’s next move. Since checkers is a two-player game, it help with staying socially active, which is a great benefit for seniors that tend to isolate themselves. Plus, it is much easier to play than chess. Checkers can also be played online while playing against the computer. Some computer games will also provide different levels of strategy, to help challenge the senior as well. 

5. Mahjong

Mahjong is a game which requires good cognitive skills, such as concentration, strategic thinking, calculation, and attention to detail. Some things that seniors tend to lose as they get older. However, playing this game can help build up these skills and help seniors regain memory loss that may have already started. Mahjong also will stimulate the brain and help them fight against memory illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This game can also help seniors stay socially active, since it is often played among four people at once. Having a good strong support system from the community in where you live provides good social interaction among their peers. However, individuals can play Mahjong alone too. Seniors can play by themselves by playing along with a computer.

6. Chess

The game of Chess has been around for many centuries. Founded in India, the game is all about  strategic thinking and creative moves on a board. Seniors enjoy this game because it helps improve brain health and promotes social interaction among others. The good thing is you don’t have to be a genius to play Chess; however, it wouldn’t help to think three moves ahead to beat your opponent. Chess is also very accessible for people to play. Many senior centers or even city parks will offer outdoor chess boards for the community to play a game while hanging out with family at the park. 

7. Brain Trainer

Playing board games or puzzles are not the only way to power up your brain health. There are many online games that offer interesting ways to help you remember important details. Brain Trainer is an engaging game for any age. The game is by ABCya, and is available online. Although designed for elementary students, the game can also help seniors who have a hard time forgetting things. The game also provides a great way for seniors who need help in retaining knowledge and building concentration skills. The game focuses on four main categories. These include memory, reaction, logic, and focus, with 8 types of mini mages to chose from. This online game also provides seniors with daily challenges that will improve their thinking each day. The game records your success, so you can see how much better you have learned each time you get on to play. 

8. Lumosity

Another great online game is Lumosity. Although it is also a great help for kids who struggle with memory issues, Lumosity can help seniors as well. The brain games on Lumosity include not only memory games, but also games that improve your processing speed, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills. There is also word games available for seniors that need to focus on their vocabulary and skills in logical reasoning. Math games on Lumosity also helps seniors with quick estimation skills and how to challenge their quantitative reasoning. Lumosity has also been recognized as a leader among other brain game companies. Their extensive studies and development of their games have improved the working memory of their participants by building on exceptional cognitive performance over time. 

Factors about brain games for Seniors

When finding the ideal game for seniors, consider a few things first. One is the type of format that you may be looking for. Many seniors prefer classic board games, such as chess, checkers or the game of monopoly. Some may rather play puzzles, like crosswords or jigsaws. However, with the boom of technology at your finger tips, there is now may brain games available online or through apps that you can download on your iPhone. Even video games can catch the attention of elderly people who want to enjoy a fun game with their grandkids.  Whatever is your method of entertaining, there is a variety of formats to choose from. Another factor to consider is whether seniors are looking for a free version of a game to play or if the senior doesn’t mind signing up for a brain game app that comes with a monthly subscription. Some game apps may offer a 7-day trial, but then charge you thereafter. However, the paid versions may offer more in-depth features than their free counterparts. 

Seniors should also consider the difficulty level of certain brain games. May start out very simple and easy to play. But the more you play, the more challenging the levels become. Seniors may be able to set the games on easy for a given time, it just depends on which type of games you may be playing. For those struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the caregiver or family member who is caring for them should try to find games that stays within their cognitive level at the time. Beginner puzzles that gradually increase the challenge would be a great start. 

The last factor to consider is the type of brain game that is best for seniors. As we have seen so far, there are many options for those struggling with memory issues. If you are the caregiver who is caring for an elderly parent, then buy games that you know your parent will love. Look for somewhat challenging games, but not too hard that the senior can’t complete it or find it hard to comprehend. For seniors who tend to be alone, they may prefer brain games they can play online by themselves. However, choosing two- to four-player games may help with social interaction. Finding more social interacting games may help them come out and enjoy being around others. 

How Brain Games work

Playing any type of game can encourage social interaction, sharpen your reasoning skills, and help someone develop a strong working memory. As seniors get older in age, forgetting names or words is sometimes common. Most people think that this is just “old age”. Yet, it may be signs of something worse, like dementia. For those having some trouble with forgetfulness, playing brain games can help expand your creative thinking and help your brain process things more quickly as well. Here are some ways that brain games can really make an impact on your memory. 

Memory performance

Some memory performance studies have shown that your brain function is increased when fueled by physical and mental exercises. Examples include playing mind or brain games. When seniors play these games it will often help them with boosting brain function and may even lessen their chances for diseases. Having healthy brain function also can lead seniors to happier and a more productive life. 

Changes in Mood

Everyone gets emotional at times, especially when playing a game that keeps you focused and holds your attention. Most of the time playing brain games is a positive emotion. The more accurate you win or get an answer right, the happier you feel and want to continue playing. It is a fun activity too. However, it is not always the case. Sometimes we forget about those around us when were playing a game. We can even get frustrated if we lose concentration. That is why is it important hat seniors pick the right game and at their right level. 

Ways to Improve Memory and Brain Performance

1. Brain Exercises

Getting mentally stimulated will keep your brain mentally active. Not just through puzzles or board games, but also reading and doing math problems. These activities will also stimulate brain cells and create new ones as well. Other brain activities include drawing, painting, and playing music. This can be very helpful for seniors with trouble remembering things.

2. Physical Exercise

Another way to stimulate your brain is by doing physical activities. Hitting the gym or doing a cardio workout can help avoid brain fog. Keeping the blood flowing while exercising allows your brain to increase memory and learning skills.  Some good examples of physical activities for brain health are swimming, tennis, squash and dancing.

3. Quality Sleep

When seniors get enough sleep at night, they will wake up with a rested brain and will be ready for the day. A good amount of sleep is around 7 to 8 hours each night. If you get less, it can affect your health. However, getting too much is sometimes worse. Good optimum brain health will help seniors make better decisions and also increase your creativity.

4. Meditation

One of the most important activities seniors could do to build up brain health in the fastest amount of time is meditation. No matter your age, stress and anxiety can affect a person’s mind in negative ways. Even a little Yoga could help seniors concentrate better. It can cause you to lose focus and bring on fatigue; which then can affect your mood as well. To avoid this from occurring, it is good to practice breathing techniques when the feel of stress is at your door.  Meditating for just 30 minutes a day can make a difference to your brain health. 


Caregiving For Alzheimer’s

10 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Foods to Boost Your Memory and Brain

Memory Loss – Tips to Improve Your Memory

What are the Costs of Memory Care? 


10 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Memory Loss – Tips to Improve Your Memory