Social distancing has changed the rules of personal contact for the time being. But even if you’re not able to get out to your yoga class or hit the links, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay inside and give your brain a good workout.
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that we continue stimulating our brains. As retired seniors, we’re no longer bombarded with the problems and puzzles of the workday world. With more free time to enjoy, it’s a good goal to be proactive about spending some of that time keeping our brains engaged with activities we enjoy. Proper brain health in seniors is often a major part of being able to continue living independently.
The good news is the human brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change — even in older adults. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways.
Benefits of brain games for seniors
Thankfully, exercising the mind can be fun and easy to do, thanks to quick brain games that can be enjoyed anywhere.
Brain games for seniors have a range of benefits that can help improve an individual’s mental capacity and abilities, which in turn, can help fight the symptoms and worsening of age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. They’re a simple way to keep yourself sharp.
Some benefits of brain games for seniors include:
- Develops faster thinking skills
- Improves memory capabilities
- Increases level of concentration
- Increases greater understanding of general knowledge/reality
- Improves hand-eye coordination
- Enhances reaction times
- Provides a greater sense of independence
Brain games come in a variety of formats, from classic memory games like crossword puzzles to modern technology games played on phones, tablets and computers. In fact, you can even turn everyday activities into brain games by challenging yourself to memorize shopping lists or using your nondominant hand throughout the day.
Here are some great brain-stimulating activities you can challenge yourself with while social distancing:
Computerized brain training
Modern technology has given us any number of apps and computer programs with the sole purpose of developing the player’s mental functions. They’re accessible on almost all platforms, whether you’re playing on a computer, a smartphone or a large-screen tablet.
They’re visual and highly engaging, which means seniors can become involved in the brain training process in an easy-to-understand and stress-free manner. Nearly every app will come with some sort of progress record, providing you with a sense of self-accomplishment and reward.
Some of the best computerized digital brain training apps include:
Sudoku requires you to use problem-solving skills in a fun, easy to learn way. It demands logic and memory skills, which pushes the brain to make connections. The strategic thinking required also helps you improve your concentration and ability to make decisions in a short period of time. While Sudoku books are plentiful, it’s also available online.
One of the oldest brain games is still one of the best. Chess encourages creativity and out of the box original thinking. Of course, the game was typically played with an opponent in front of you, but today there are many apps and free online chess games to play on your own.
This is another ancient brain game. It’s a straightforward tile-matching game where the goal is to get all 144 of your tiles into four sets and one pair. In Asian cultures, the game even has a philosophical significance as players sit at the table in a north, south, east and west position, representing a connection to nature. These days the most common way to play is online.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to jigsaw puzzles. When you complete a jigsaw puzzle, you’re using all parts of the brain. Another benefit of puzzles is that they can help you relax, by reducing blood pressure and slowing breathing rate. In fact, doing a jigsaw puzzle is a kind of meditation. Focusing and concentrating the mind on the same image for long periods of time creates calmness and a sense of peace.
We invite you to learn about Edgemere’s well-rounded approach to senior wellness. It’s an outlook that takes into account the whole person, including intellectual well-being. At Edgemere, you’ll benefit from an exclusive relationship with the nationally renowned, research-based Masterpiece Living® initiative and its four key components of successful aging. Ready to speak directly to one of our team members? Give us a call at 214-865-7520 or contact us.