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Keeping Sharp: 6 Memory Games for Seniors

Healthy Living | March 7, 2024

An elderly woman playing with a jigsaw puzzle, one of the best memory games for seniors to stay sharp.

It’s no secret that your body changes as you get older. From physical changes like lessened mobility to mental changes like increased brain fog – aging can have its challenges. That’s why it’s important to take preventative actions so that you are able to make the most of your golden years.

While physical activity can be a great way to improve mobility in seniors, mental stimulation and memory games are critical for seniors to maintain their sharpness and ability to recall. This is especially true in older adults who are at risk of dementia. By staying mentally active and engaged, you have a better chance of preserving memory and fighting off cognitive decline.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best memory games for seniors and how these brain teasers help older adults stay sharp. 

How do Memory Games Help Seniors Stay Sharp?

Your brain is just like any other muscle in your body – it needs to be exercised to function at its best. The best way to stimulate your mind is through activities and games that challenge the brain in unique ways. This can help strengthen the brain by supporting and cultivating new brain cells.

Memory games improve senior’s critical thinking and attention to detail skills, while helping a wide array of healthy brain functions, such as:

  • Boost short term memory
  • Improve brain health
  • Boost socialization skill
  • Improve logical reasoning
  • Slow down the progression of memory issues

6 Best Memory Games for Seniors

Jigsaw Puzzles 

Jigsaw puzzles are a fun and engaging way to spend a day either on your own or with friends and family. This game helps bolster your strategy and problem-solving skills by encouraging you to piece together an image or scene. What makes jigsaw puzzles great is that they are inexpensive and accessible to seniors of all ability levels. Basic puzzles start out around 13 pieces and can increase in difficulty through larger piece counts and more complex designs.

Watch the hours fly by as you grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit down with some friends or family, and get to work on a puzzle that has a fun or unique design. 

Crossword Puzzles

From solving your newspaper’s daily crossword puzzle to seeking out puzzle books online or at the store, it’s easy to see that crossword puzzles are everywhere. These puzzles are a great mental challenge for seniors both alone or in a group of friends helping each other out. Whether you can tackle the NYT Sunday Crossword or just like to collaborate with some friends over breakfast, this game is accessible for seniors of all skill levels. 

Sudoku Puzzles

Solving Sudoku puzzles is an excellent way to keep your mind and critical thinking skills sharp. If you haven’t played before, Sudoku is a complex game that encourages seniors to think outside of the box as they try to solve number puzzles.

Sudoku puzzles are more advanced than some other brain training games, providing a varying level of difficulty for those looking for something a little more complex. Played online or in a book, the goal of the game is to take a 9 x 9 square box where each row across, each row down, and each individual square must have numbers 1 through 9, with no repeats. 

While this may sound complex, many introductory puzzles are pre-filled to give you an idea of how to get started. The best part? The sense of accomplishment you feel when finishing your first puzzle.

Matching Game

A common yet simple memory game for seniors is the memory card matching game. Most commonly played with a regular deck of cards, the goal of the game is to match all pairs in the deck until there are no cards left.

If you haven’t played before, the game begins by shuffling the deck and laying every card face down on the table in random order. Then, one by one, you flip over two cards. If they match, those cards get taken away, and the following two cards can be flipped. If they don’t match, they get flipped back upside down and the game continues.

Exercise both motor skills and memory skills as you flip your way through a deck of cards in this relaxing and fun solo game.

Bingo

We’ve all had that exciting moment where we cross off the last box in a line and yell out “BINGO!” Bingo uses numbers, so it’s easy to follow along, and the added bonus of potentially winning a small prize at the end can be all the motivation some people need to play.

What you might not have known is that this classic game is a great way for seniors to socialize while working on their memory and ability to focus. Bingo is an old favorite among the senior community as it encourages social interaction while promoting active listening and comprehension skills.

Board Games

Board games have changed considerably since Monopoly first hit store shelves. Now, there are games for every age, interest, and skill level. Board games engage seniors – providing certain health benefits like improved memory functions, lower blood pressure, and improved general wellbeing.

AARP put together a list of some new takes on classic board games that you might have played at some point in your life like Risk or dominos. 

A Community Approach to Healthy Aging

Cognitive decline and memory problems are serious worries for many seniors. While brain strengthening activities are a great place to start, always consult with your health team to find the right approach for you. There isn’t a one-size answer for how to keep our minds and bodies healthy. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with experts who can support you along the way.

National Church Residences offers an individual approach to senior care – offering quality senior living options and memory care services for seniors to fully enjoy their golden years. Learn more or give us a call at 844-465-6063 to talk to one of our friendly staff members today.

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.