Is there any science behind the idea that brain games improve your memory? According to Scientific American the answer is yes— enriching your environment with mental stimulation will improve brain function. It makes sense that family members and caretakers would include some games as part of senior care, as well. Not all games are created equally, however, so let’s take look at some of the best games on the market that enhance mental acuity and memory by challenging the brain.
1. Good Old Fashion Crosswords
The days of waiting for the paper to come out, so you can get a new crossword are long gone. Today, seniors can find crossword puzzles 24/7 via the Internet. You can print them out or do them online. Crossword puzzles do more than just enhance memory; they expand your vocabulary and improve critical thinking processes, too.
Online game pages like Quizland have new crosswords daily. You can also check the local newspaper website or look at a national paper like USA Today for a crossword.
Sudoku is a math and logic puzzle in one. With this game, you must figure out how to fill each row and column with unique numbers in the square using just the digits one through nine. The more grids there are on the game board, the bigger the challenge.
Like crosswords, you can find sudoku puzzles just about anywhere. If a computer isn’t part of your senior care environment, you can find whole books of these popular number puzzles at just about any book or convenience store.
3. Happy Neuron
This is one game that gets rave reviews for its brain-training prowess. WebMD even suggests it as a brain fitness tool for the 50 and over crowd. Happy Neuron uses 28 different exercises to enhance brain function including:
- Visual/spatial skills
Happy Neuron was created by a team of French neuroscientists specifically to work the brain. There is clinical evidence that it does just that, too. Trial registration to the website is free, but you have to pay for a membership ($10 a month) to get full access to all the games and levels after seven days.
The online version is just as much fun as the board game. Scrabble forces you to dig deep into your memory to put together the words you didn’t even know you knew. Scrabble is available as an app for the savvy senior who uses a tablet computer or smartphone. You can also play online with your Facebook friends or try Scrabble Sprint from Pogo for more of a challenge.
5. Logic Puzzles
A grid logic puzzle tells a story then gives you clues. Players must use logic to methodically eliminate answers and solve the puzzle. For example, one puzzle might tell a story of five friends who went out for ice cream. The clues will explain who hates what flavor or how many dips two of the friends ordered. From that, you must determine who ate what type of ice cream and how many dips they had each.
6. Matching Games
If you want a puzzle that’s fun, but not altogether taxing, then an old-school matching puzzle might be the right brain-teaser for you. It still gives your brain a workout without all the bells and whistles. A matching puzzle can be a simple or complex as you want, but they’re always fun. Online games like Candy Crush can even be a little addicting.
Part of senior care and living well is finding a way to exercise the brain. Whether it is for yourself or someone you love, you are never too old to start enhancing your brain skills with a game or two.