The more time we spend with our elders, the more we realize about their behavioural changes and how their gradual forgetfulness affects their daily lives. To not leave them alone in such tiring times, it’s best to play some mentally challenging games with them. They will help keep their minds sharp and improve their cognitive ability more often.
It is medically proven that brain games and puzzles help the brain to flourish and function at its best for a very long time. It helps reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline in old people. It improves the memory and problem-solving skills of adults and can save them from diseases like dementia. Here are some of the best brain games for senior citizens to stay mentally sharp.
1. Trivia quizzes
Trivia quizzes are one of the best games to improve the cognitive skills of a senior citizen. It helps in stimulating the elderly mind and brings a lighter mood among them with a good laugh. There are many topics available online, it is up to you to select the topic that intrigues them.
You can make a team or it can be played alone. Making a team with one of the elders will help them and bring joy and competitiveness against the other team. The answer to the quiz can be written or orally called out depending upon the capability of the elder. Winners can be rewarded so that the senior citizen at your home feels honoured.
2. Sudoku Puzzles
Sudoku puzzles are played on a grid comprised of 9×9 spaces. Inside the grid of 9, there are 9 squares made up of 3×3 spaces. Every row, column, and square needs to be filled with numbers from 1-9 without being repeated within it. Sudoku puzzles help in keeping the elderly sharp mentally and strongly preserves their logical thinking skills and mental abilities.
Most importantly, the elderly will feel a sense of achievement after playing the game well or winning it. Sudoku puzzles are available online, but if the elderly are not comfortable using a laptop or mobile, they can be played on printable resources available.
Chess is the classical game of all times and the common one among the elders. This game strengthens strategic thinking, logical reasoning and problem-solving skills in the elder players. Chess may look like a difficult game at the start but with time and practice, you can make them learn how to play it. With a few weeks of practice, you can easily see the benefit of it. Once they get a hang of the game, you would find them more focused and strategic. So if you have the chess set at your home, take it out and start playing it with the elder ones at your home and encourage them on every move.
4. Word Puzzles
You should involve your elderly in playing word puzzles as it is the most amazing way to do brainstorming. It is a fantastic way to keep them busy, entertained and exercise their brain when searching the letters to complete the word.
Let them search the words on their own, whether they accurately complete them or not. They would be thrilled by the whole searching process and would love to play it again. Word puzzles are easily available in book stores. Some common word puzzles are word search, crosswords, and boggle, etc.
Bingo is one of the oldest and most favorite games among senior citizens. It allows them to be socially interactive and participative and brings a lot of health benefits. Many old homes conduct bingo among the elders to keep them mentally active and sharp.
The game has multiple health benefits and improves the senses like hearing, sight, and touch. As this is an interactive and social game, it brings them closer to fellow aged friends, helps them socialize, and reduces loneliness.
Ludo is an all-time favorite game of people from all age groups. The elderly are more invested in it as compared to the young individuals. You can play it with them by making teams. However, it can also be played between two players only. This way, they’d be more thrilled to win on their own. Ludo is the lightest game that can be played every day.
It will make the elder ones remain stress-free and improve the bond with the family. It helps in improving logical thinking and cognitive skills, normalizes blood pressure and, helps in developing interpersonal skills.
Scrabble is the oldest classic game and not only do adults love to play it, but people of all ages love to engage in this fun game. There are added benefits for older adults in this game, such as it improves their memory by thinking for a word, lowers down their blood pressure due to the relaxing nature of the game.
While you play scrabble with them, allow them to make funny words so that everyone has a good laugh. There might be some new words which you haven’t heard but it can be a great educational game too.
8. Brain Yoga
Brain yoga is the easiest physical activity yet it has the most powerful impact on mental health as well. There is no equipment required for the exercise, all you need is yourself. Brain yoga helps in stimulating the brain cells and improves motor skills. It improves hand and eye coordination which helps polish mental abilities. Brain yoga is the best exercise for elders as it brings calm and relaxation.
9. Card Matching Game
The card matching game is the best way to increase your elderly’s memory and help him or her to be reactive and responsive. These brain games not only make your elder ones feel loved but also help them to do their basic tasks by themselves.
10. Musical Chair
The musical chair can be a physical activity for the elders. It can improve their decision-making power and can make them responsive to different situations. Make sure you don’t ask them to run fast and give instructions in a hard tone. Be gentle with them. Play soft music in the background so that it brings calmness during the game.
You may also read our article about Simple Elderly Music with Chimes for more ideas.
Games Bring Us Closer
Playing games with our loved ones not only improves their mental health and memory skills but also brings us closer as a family. Spending quality time with our elderly can make them feel loved, valued, and bring calmness in their behaviour. Most of the time, old age people become cranky and can’t express their feelings correctly. We must listen to them, try to understand them, and spend quality time with them playing games, chit chatting and having fun together.
If you are looking for more ideas, you may also read our Guide to Selecting Fun Games for Seniors for more recommendations.