Resources and Advice

Helping you and your loved ones live well in later life

Falls Risk Score logo

Are you or a loved one at risk of a fall?

Every 10 seconds, a loved one in the UK has a fall. Find out your risk score in 2 minutes.

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Top brain games for seniors

Keeping our minds active as we age is essential for cognitive health. This article will discuss the importance of mental activity for the elderly and highlight effective brain games.

August 21, 2023

Elderly playing brain games while sitting down

Maintaining cognitive health as we age is important to keep our minds engaged and sharp. Fortunately, brain games offer a fun and effective way to enhance older adults' mental agility, memory, and problem-solving skills. Many older adults seek ways to stay mentally fit, and various stimulating brain games are readily available.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of keeping the minds of the elderly active and highlight the most enjoyable and effective brain games for achieving this purpose.

Why keeping the mind active is important for older people?

Older individuals must keep their minds active to maintain cognitive health and overall well-being. Just as physical exercise is critical for maintaining physical fitness, participating in mental activities is crucial for preserving mental sharpness and preventing cognitive decline. 

  1. Activities challenging memory, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking are particularly important for the elderly. Research suggests that cognitive engagement can reduce the risk of cognitive disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. 
  2. Engaging in enjoyable mental activities can also boost mood and mental well-being, providing a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and satisfaction. 
  3. Social engagement is also associated with better cognitive health and reduced feelings of loneliness or isolation
  4. By investing in cognitive health now, older adults can enjoy greater independence and autonomy as they age. 
  5. Incorporating various mentally stimulating activities into daily routines is a valuable investment in one's cognitive health and enjoyment of life in the later years.

 

Games for the elderly to play alone

Elderly solving sudoku and crossword puzzles alone


Staying engaged and mentally active is important for the well-being of the elderly, even when they are spending time alone. Here is a list of games that are perfect for the elderly to play alone, offering both entertainment and cognitive stimulation:


Sudoku: A classic brainteaser

For years, Sudoku has captivated minds as a classic number puzzle game. Its simple rules and increasing complexity offer a perfect challenge for older adults seeking to improve their logical thinking and number skills. With varying difficulty levels, Sudoku caters to beginners and experts alike. Consistent engagement with Sudoku can lead to improved concentration and enhanced problem-solving abilities.


Enhancing vocabulary and knowledge through crossword puzzles

For many generations, crossword puzzles have been a popular leisure activity and continue to serve as an exceptional means of stimulating the brain for the elderly. By filling in the blanks with appropriate words that fit horizontally and vertically, this activity encourages creative thinking and expands one's vocabulary. There is a crossword puzzle suitable for everyone with a wide range of difficulty levels and themes available through both online platforms and newspapers.


Exercise the mind and relax with jigsaw puzzles

For older adults, jigsaw puzzles offer an entertaining combination of mental challenge and relaxation. The intricate pieces demand spatial reasoning and cognitive coordination, but the process is soothing and rewarding. With each piece that fits into place, the image takes shape, bringing a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Working on puzzles is a wonderful exercise in gaining patience and attention to detail.


Elevating recall abilities through memory games

Simon, a popular memory game, is an effective tool for the elderly to enhance their memory and concentration. The game requires players to recall the location of matching cards, thereby stimulating their short-term memory and focus. These versatile games can be played solo or with others, providing opportunities for social interaction and cognitive enrichment.

Improve skills with word search

Looking for words hidden within a grid of letters can be a fun and stimulating activity. Word search games could help to improve visual scanning abilities, concentration, and word recognition skills.

Discover the joy of painting with paint by numbers

Bring artistic vision to life with paint by numbers kits. These easy-to-use sets enable older adults to create pretty works of art simply by matching numbered sections with the correct colours. Not only is it a fun and creative way to spend time, but it's also an excellent way to unwind and relax solo. 

Sharpen numerical skills with mental math challenges

For keeping numerical skills sharp, there's nothing better than engaging in mental math exercises. From practising multiplication tables to solving arithmetic problems mentally, mental math challenges can help in improving the ability of older adults to think quickly and accurately with numbers. So why not try it and see how much you can help to improve the mental math skills of your elderly loved ones?

 

Sit-down games for senior citizens

Enjoy brain games for the elderly


Sit-down games are an excellent option for seniors with mobility limitations or those who prefer seated activities. These games offer mental stimulation, social interaction, and entertainment, all while comfortably seated. Here are some sit-down game ideas specifically tailored for the elderly:

Card games

Get your card game fix with these four different options, each with its own unique benefits. Bridge is a timeless game that will test strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities and can be played with others or against computer opponents. Rummy involves forming sets and runs of cards, helping to improve memory and decision-making skills. Uno is a fun and easy game that promotes colour and number recognition. Finally, challenge the concentration and problem-solving skills with different variations of solitaire such as Klondike, Spider, or Freecell.

Bingo

Bingo is an excellent game for seniors that offers both mental stimulation and a chance to satisfy their competitive spirit. It's not just a game of chance; it requires quick thinking, close listening, and the ability to analyse a bingo card in seconds. To set up a bingo game, you'll need enough cards, daubers, and chips for multiple games and fun prizes for the winners. Traditional bingo is a timeless option that offers social interaction and excitement as players mark off numbers on their cards. For a more visual experience, consider picture bingo, which uses images or symbols instead of numbers.

Scrabble

Scrabble is more than just a word game - it's a strategic tool that can help older adults expand their vocabulary, enhance language skills, and engage in friendly competition with loved ones. Scrabble remains a timeless brain game that fosters mental agility, whether played on a physical board or through digital platforms. Join the millions of seniors who have discovered the benefits of regular Scrabble play and enjoy the rewards of improved cognitive function and linguistic ability.

Brain activities for the elderly

Promoting cognitive health and keeping our minds sharp become increasingly important as we age. Engaging in brain activities is essential to achieve these goals. To that end, here are some brain-boosting activities that are tailored specifically for the elderly.

Engage the mind and improve agility with Arts and Crafts

Crafting is a good way for the elderly to boost their imagination and enhance their fine motor skills. Not only does it provide a creative platform, but it also allows them to create unique pieces for their homes or for loved ones. Fortunately, crafting doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Consider repurposing old photo frames with paper collages, making personalised greeting cards from magazines, or even knitting adorable things for newborns. Give your mind and hands a workout while enjoying arts and crafts

Encourage reading and storytelling

Reading is an engaging pastime that can improve cognitive abilities, restore forgotten vocabulary, and alleviate loneliness for elderly individuals. Consider asking seniors to summarise the story after completing a book to maximise these benefits. This not only promotes social interaction but also enhances memory skills. So, encourage reading and storytelling for a fulfilling experience.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


What to read next

Lone tree on a hill
February 21, 2024

Supporting with elderly grief and loss

Losing someone close to you is difficult at any age, but as we get older, grief can affect us differently and can often be worse.

Elderly man dealing with stress
September 14, 2023

Tips for managing stress in the elderly

Stress can have a significant impact on physical and mental health. Read our tips to manage worry and distress.