The brain is a muscle, and it is important to keep it ‘worked out’ as we age – just like the rest of our body. There are many different options for keeping the brain engaged, and the earlier you start – or the elderly person in your life starts, the better.
Problem-solving games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles are great, games with bright colours and sounds engage a player, and card games like poker or solitaire are ideal for keeping players engaged and alert.
What are brain exercises?
Brain exercises are things that demand cognitive skills to be engaged. Brain games will typically have all or some of the following features: creativity, imagination, problem-solving, memory, and recognition.
The ideal brain exercise is something that poses a challenge but isn’t difficult enough for the player to lose interest. Anything that is too mentally challenging isn’t fun – and almost all brain games and exercises are fun to do.
Activities that are too difficult become stressful, which has a negative impact on the brain and ultimately makes people not want to continue.
There are plenty of studies into brain games and their positive impact: Brain Training Games Enhance Cognitive Function in Healthy Subjects – PMC.
What are the benefits of brain exercises?
In an ideal world, brain games and problem-solving would reduce a person’s risk of dementia or other memory issues. And while studies are ongoing, some benefits make brain exercises important no matter their impact on memory issues and loss.
When you learn something new, you create new synapses, and they are quite literally new brain connections. You challenge your mind in new ways, and in return, you develop new connections with each new thing you learn.
As we age, there is a lot that isn’t in our control; however, doing brain games and activities can give older people a sense of control.
This can be particularly important for those who do have memory problems. The idea that you can become better at a game, or a challenge brings a sense of control and leads to an improved mood.
While there are online apps and other things, the elderly benefit from playing games and solving puzzles in person, too. So, playing a game of Scrabble or solving a Sudoku together helps prevent the isolation that so many elderly people contend with.
Brain exercises along with these tips found in a previous article: Growing Old Gracefully Resiliency Slows Down the Epigenetic Clock, can make for a more comfortable aging process.
Websites and Apps to help with mental stimulation in the elderly.
If you have ever tried to learn a new language, you will know that it takes routine, dedication, and a lot of repetition. Your brain is engaged the whole time, and this is one of those situations where the person doing the learning will create new brain pathways (like mentioned above).
Duolingo has an app and website and is very interactive.
Monopoly has been around for nearly 90 years and within that time thousands of versions have been made available. This includes various online versions such as the original board game, free monopoly slot games, Monopoly Go! And many more. Not only is Monopoly a fun game to play for everyone in the family, it also helps boost your memory and your cognitive skills as there are strategic ways to win if you play your cards right.
You can find a digital version online.
Jackpot Party is a great and fun website, that is full of various themed games and features a dynamic community to join. Whether you enjoy Greek mythology, animals, or mythical creatures, there is a free game available to stimulate the brain. This is the perfect website as Jackpot Party is not real money gambling, and is a great way to increase the production of dopamine that will in turn reduce tiredness, improve moods and can even help sleep efficiency.
Wordle is one of the most played 5-letter word games in the world at the moment. Each day, there is a new challenge, and you only get six attempts to guess the word. Although there are spoilers online, so it is best to try and solve it first thing in the morning! You get a score each day that you can share with friends and family – healthy competition is great.
There are other games on the website too; Wordle.
Words With Friends
Before Wordle came Words With Friends, it was a great way to play games with the people you love – or with people around the world. It feels and looks like Scrabble, and you can play when you have time – making it pressure-free.
Words With Friends has a website and an app.
Bridge is still a very popular game, with a huge 220 million people playing worldwide. But if you can’t get to a bridge club because of mobility issues or social situations feel overwhelming, Fun Bridge helps. The app connects bridge players from all over, and there are even online tournaments! Because not everyone can play bridge, the app can teach newcomers, which has the bonus of building those new synapses.
Fun Bridge has an app, and you can play on the website too.
There are many fun ways to help engage the older generations minds. It is time to utilise the new technological age and use it to everyone advantage. Not only will these games exampled in this article help with brain health, it will also help the elderly generation to become closer to their friends and families, as these games don’t have to be played alone.