As we age, cognitive skills may not be as sharp as they once were. Fortunately, the human brain is like any other muscle, and with regular exercise, older adults can keep it limber and healthy. Try these fun, brainy activities that stimulate your mind and lend opportunities to connect with others.
Board games aren't just fun to play with family and friends. One study showed a relationship between playing board games and reduced cognitive decline later in life. Board games that involve decision-making, strategy, deduction and trivia help your brain because they:
Good old-fashioned chess and checkers involve skill, strategy and hand-eye coordination as you move your pieces around the board. Similar games include Chinese checkers, Dominoes and Backgammon.
Trivia games like Trivial Pursuit are perfect for improving memory skills. Cranium is another trivia-type game that mixes trivia with puzzles.
Primarily a memory game, this board game exercises your short-term memory by challenging your ability to recollect items from cards you draw as you move around the board.
These board games for older adults are also among the many that are fun to play and can help keep your brain sharp:
Board games offer a low-key way for older adults to connect and engage in a little friendly competition and fun. Future residents at The Village at Providence Point—A National Lutheran Community will be able to enjoy hosting a game day in their Independent Living apartment or cottage home!
While it's easy to think that puzzles are just something one does to alleviate boredom or pass the time, one study found that people who regularly did number and crossword puzzles had sharper brains when they were older. Any type of puzzle can help your brain because they:
Jigsaw puzzles fully engage your concentration to give you a little vacation from everyday life. Keeping your mind occupied without being overly challenged helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Not only that, but one study confirmed the cognitive enrichment that jigsaw puzzles gave people 50 years and over.
While most stop short of saying a crossword a day keeps dementia away, researchers found that doing crossword puzzles for just 30 minutes four times a week generated cognitive improvement at levels comparable to FDA-approved memory-enhancing medication.
Any activity that exercises your critical and analytical thinking skills helps keep your brain sharp, including:
Sudoku is a number puzzle game that is a lot like a crossword puzzle, only you're filling in numbers in each box instead of letters. You're challenged to finish a partially filled-in three-by-three grid according to the game rules.
While some may find crossword puzzles too difficult, anyone can learn how to play Sudoku, and it offers similar brain-sharpening benefits as its crossword puzzle cousin.
There are apps specifically designed to exercise your brain and others that have brain-sharpening benefits just because they're challenging. You can play these games on either your smartphone or tablet and use the idle time you'd normally spend waiting, standing in line or ride-sharing to stimulate your brain. Here are a few of the most notable brain-enriching apps for older adults:
Any time you learn something new, you exercise your brain, and that's especially true when you learn a new language. Use that time sitting in waiting rooms to learn French, German or Korean on this free and fun app.
This app uses personalized games to improve your attention span, memory and processing speed.
Word Brain brings the fun and brain-sharpening benefits of word puzzles right to your phone so you can play them anywhere.
While there are many apps out there that are made for brain enrichment, here are some of the best ones for older adults:
Playing brain games is just one way of keeping your brain sharp. Experts advise that you also eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and try to keep stress to a minimum. All of these factors combined help your brain create new pathways in a process called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity normally decreases with age, but you can increase it beyond its expected age-related decline with a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of brain-stimulating activity.
Cognitive enrichment is at the forefront of our community design at The Village at Providence Point. Residents can receive the brain-stimulating benefit of regular social interaction combined with numerous exercise opportunities, delicious, nutritious meals and exciting brain-enriching programming created to facilitate active independent living. For questions about our community, to find out more about our proposed cottages and apartment homes or to schedule a visit, contact us today.