Seniors need to keep their minds active. When seniors sit in front of the television doing nothing all day, they quickly start to lose that mental agility and swiftness they once had. You need to exercise your mind to maintain your memory.
A lot of people forget that the brain behaves like a muscle. Memory games can help strengthen this organ (yes, it’s an organ that acts like a muscle) to improve or maintain cognition and memory.
1. Lumosity is all the Rage
You have probably seen Lumosity on television commercials or through ads online. Lumosity is a computer program that has a ton of exercises that are made to exercise your brain. Seniors can try a free version of the program, but the paid version is what really offers the best memory games. The paid version offers a variety of games to play, and you can also opt out of playing certain games.
Games can be favorited, and the games offer help in a range of different areas, including:
- Problem solving
And Lumosity also provides statistics that allow you to track just how well you’re doing in every category.
Sudoku is difficult even for someone in their twenties and thirties. This game will have you thinking a lot, and there are ample options to play. You can buy Sudoku books at the store, but you can also download apps or go to websites that offer Sudoku.
I choose apps because you can always go back and make changes without the need to erase a number a hundred times.
Sudoku is a ton of fun, and it’s all about solving number problems and recognizing patterns. Fun and difficult, this puzzle game really hones in on a person’s problem-solving skills. You can also choose any other puzzle-type game, including crossword puzzles and the like.
Sudoku is definitely harder than most puzzles in my experience.
Kid-level options are available as well as easy modes on many of the apps. Start off easy and work your way up to intermediate and advanced puzzles. There are options for the Nintendo DSi, but apps are free and often only come with ad support.
You can also find more than enough free Sudoku puzzles that you can download online and print out to play.
It’s completely up to you, but if memory and problem solving are an issue, Sudoku is a must-play.
3. Tale Telling with a Group
Group settings are a great way to have seniors socialize and have fun. When in a group setting, seniors are allowed to expand their social circle and work with each other to improve their memory.
Groups are far better than playing a game alone for most seniors.
One game that is particularly fun is called “cumulative tale.” What this tale requires is for you to do the following:
- One person will start the game by saying a phrase.
- The second person will say the phrase that the first person said and add on to it.
- Each person has to say all of the lines all the way back to the first person, who must repeat the entire tale to finish.
For example, let’s say that the first person said “I have a dog named Bruno that is a little crazy.” The second person would start with “I have a dog named Bruno that is a little crazy. Sometimes, he likes to bite his tag and run around the house with it in his mouth.”
See, the second sentence was added.
Now, the third person would say the first and second sentence followed by a sentence that they made up.
Make the game funny and exciting, and while it may be difficult to remember all of the lines, you can make the game shorter.
4. Chess and Checkers
Chess players are intelligent. When you see a chess player, you don’t sit there thinking that they have no idea what they’re doing. There’s a lot of memorization and strategy involved in chess. And the more a person plays, the more they’ll start to memorize the layout of the board and strategies to take.
While there’s some evidence that playing chess can improve IQ, there’s also evidence that playing chess as a senior can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
One study conducted on people 75 and older who played chess and checkers regularly found that those that played strenuous mental activities were far less likely to develop the signs of dementia.
These individuals worked their brain, allowing them to improve their memory and concentration.
And you can play chess or checkers either in person, which is great for socialization, or online. There are apps and online portals that allow you to play chess against people across the world. It’s a great way to test your skills as you advance as a chess player.
Games can be a fun, consistent way to enhance your mental sharpness and memory. Rotate between the games you play, and give it time to really build up your memory and mental agility.
Tim is a professional caregiver who has helped hundreds of seniors gain back their freedom and independence. He has been actively helping the senior community for 20+ years.