Elderly folks can benefit greatly from the inevitable brain stimulation that comes from doing various forms of puzzles or playing certain games. Both will help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline that often happens during the ageing process. A brain that isn't exercised can become stagnant in much the same way that a body that isn't exercised can become unhealthy. Increase brain function by keeping your mind active and sharp by participating in these activities on a daily basis.
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Word and Number Puzzles
Crossword puzzles can be found in virtually all skill levels, from the beginner to the more advanced New York Times puzzles. Opt for puzzles that will challenge you, but not ones that will overwhelm you. A good guideline is to start with beginner puzzles and, if those are too easy, move on to the next skill level. Word-search puzzles are a good choice for those who don't want to have to figure out the clues in a crossword puzzle but still want to promote mind health. Provide countless hours of brain stimulation with Sudoku puzzles, where you must find numbers that add up to specific amounts. This is a perfect game for those who have always enjoyed working with numbers.
Believe it or not, many seniors enjoy playing video games. For those who are able, activate the mind and the body by playing games such as tennis or bowling on the Wii system. Choose "Brain Age" to exercise your mind with various tasks such as mathematical, word or logic problems (see Resources). The game will keep track of your brain age and document improvement as you proceed through the game. Play game shows, such as "Jeopardy," "Family Feud" or "Wheel of Fortune," directly on the video game systems as an alternative to watching them on television.
In addition to invigorating the mind and visual memory, jigsaw puzzles are just plain fun. Choose puzzles based on a specific interest you may have, such as travel or pets. Select puzzles with the right number of pieces that won't be too difficult but will challenge your mind, instead. Another option is to have a jigsaw puzzle created from a favourite photo, such as your wedding picture or photos of your grandchildren. These days, puzzles just don't come in flat form. Opt for a three-dimensional puzzle in the shape of the earth or a historic building such as the White House. These puzzles can provide an additional challenge and will be something new and interesting to learn.
Board games aren't just for kids. Seniors will gain a great deal of mind stimulation and satisfaction from playing traditional board games they might have played as a child. Participate in a game of Scrabble to help with word recognition. Checkers and chess never go out of style, so set up the board and play a relaxing game of either. Choose a trivia game if you have a larger group and provide yourself with a challenging and fun activity.
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