It is important to address the following when considering the health of your senior:
Games can assist in all three of these areas. I recently ran across a website that listed 81 top games for seniors and the elderly. Wow. That’s a lot. But it inspired me to investigate the possibilities game can play in one’s life.
Games are not just a pass time. Rather they can be used as a tool for many aspects of one’s well-being such as:
improving one’s mental health,
daily life skills
Therefore, games can not only be an important filler in the sometimes mundane life seniors [Mundane is defined as lacking interests or excitement; dull] but an important way to assist in the continued cognitive health of your loved ones.
PUZZLE, TILE, AND BOARD GAMES
Puzzles can “stimulate the mind, assist in helping one to relax, [thus they help in], “reducing blood pressure and slowing breathing rate. Some even see jigsaw puzzles as a kind of meditation.”
Board Games such as checkers or chess assist in boosting one’s planning skills.
Tile Games such as dominoes or mahjongg are great for helping with dexterity as well as decision making.
It has been said that the “3D platform games such as Super Mario may be particularly good for older people since they require fast responses, forward planning and a memory of which keys to use.
“Studies continue to demonstrate1 that card games can help keep your mind sharp and your brain healthy. It is important to learn “how to keep your brain healthy” and participate in activities that promote positive well-being.”
Card games can be both a solitary and social activity. We all know about Solitaire, but consider the simple social games of War (where one has to assess the highest numbers) or Go Fish, which involves the recognition of numerals, matching pairs and sorting.
WORD and NUMBER GAMES
Sudoku is a logic game involving problem solving and looking for number patterns. This game can assist in helping to assess the repercussions of decisions. There is also the aspect of accomplishment that goes with successfully working through the problems in the game.”
Crossword puzzles are akin to Sudoku, only instead of numbers you are, of course, dealing with words. The same benefits of Sudoku are accomplished with crossword puzzles.
Words with Friends is an online scrabble-type game you play with others on your phone. My senior mom loves to play the game and says it is a great social outlet for her.
INDOOR GAMES for LARGE GROUPS
When doing games with others, “simply trying to figure out the answer, working with other people and putting in the effort, is what makes the difference to brain health.”
Ever wonder why so many seniors like Bingo? Not only is it fun socially but there is a health aspect to that game. “It [Bingo] can help to stimulate three key senses:
hearing (when the numbers are called),
touch (using the pens to dab and holding the card), and
Bingo is also a great social activity that can help to reduce loneliness and increase a sense of wellbeing.”
Keeping the mind active (at any age), but especially in the elderly, is significantly important.
“Essentially, completing a few games each day challenges the brain by stimulating various centers that correspond to specific functions, such as short-term memory, information processing, attention, and language fluidity.”