Maintaining a strong mind is much like staying in shape. Keeping your mind active involves practicing memory exercises that build your “mental muscles”. Utilizing a few easy memory games can help your mind stay sharp over the years. Whether you practice these pastimes alone or incorporate them in a group setting, these intellectually stimulating memory games for adults keep your mind in peak condition. Try out a few of these games and discover how memory exercises improve retention and recollection in your everyday life.
Crosswords, Sudoku, and Other Newspaper Puzzles
Get your local newspaper to find a complete section of daily mind teasers that improve your mind. Although you can buy a crossword book, newspapers are delivered to your door daily. This guaranteed schedule allows you to create a routine crafted around these memory puzzles. Solve them over your morning coffee or take them as an activity while in the waiting room for daily appointments. Incorporating these mind games into your everyday life is an easy way to build a stronger mind.
If you start to notice the crossword puzzles becoming too easy, you have lost the challenge aspect that leads to memory improvement. The benefit of crossword puzzles lies in constantly stimulating your mind. When they start to seem simple, the challenge is gone. Switch up the games you play to include word searches, Sudoku, and other newspaper puzzles. The American Alzheimer’s Association endorses Sudoku for increasing active brain cells and promoting a healthier mind. Experts found these games improve memory and lower chances for dementia in older adults.
Lumosity improves cognitive abilities by stimulating different areas of the brain, including parts responsible for problem solving, memory, and attention span. As adults age, the brain begins to lose connections, which can impair memory. Lumosity keeps your mind sharp with hundreds of games and puzzles proven to benefit information recollection. Created by neuroscientists, Lumosity has been shown to battle dementia and stave off memory loss, improving memory retention as you age.
Try out Lumosity for a small monthly fee or use Memorado, a similar puzzle site that is free, to begin playing fun memory games for adults.
Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon
When you think of chess players, you immediately imagine hyper-intelligent individuals. This correlation is not a coincidence. Playing chess regularly raises your IQ, but in older adults it can actually help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study performed by the New England Journal of Medicine, seniors over 75 that engaged in mentally strenuous activities like chess and checkers were less likely to develop signs of dementia compared to adults over 75 that did not regularly play. These games encourage your brain to create responsive patterns for strategic moves that lead to victory and ultimately foster memory growth.
Along with analytical growth, playing games like chess, backgammon, and checkers increases creativity. These mental games exercise both sides of the brain, increasing originality by requiring the brain to make quick decisions on chess positions and your competitor’s impending moves. Planning your moves in these games increases your problem-solving skills over time and requires your complete concentration to win.
These classic competitor games are like constantly changing puzzles. You must outwit a cunning opponent to succeed, leading to a challenging yet stimulating memory game.
National Institute of Health
Scientifically, playing chess and other strategic games grows dendrites in the brain, which are branches that send signals from one neuron cell to another. These branches function as antennas, picking up signals from other brain cells. Games like chess makes these antennas stronger, allowing your brain to transmit more signals and build new memory paths.
Ever struggle to find the right word in conversation? To form a more diverse vocabulary, play Scrabble with a few friends on a regular basis. Set up a weekly game night with neighbors in your community to maintain a consistent schedule. In addition to contributing to a social evening that you can look forward to, Scrabble requires players to dig deep and think abstractly about the letters drawn at every turn.
If you need to work on strategy and logical thinking, try playing Risk, a group game about political domination. This board game uses decision-making skills in which every action has consequences. To win the game, you must sacrifice losses in battle to win the overall “war” of the game. Such strategic thinking makes board games an effective way to stay mentally healthy as you age.
Monopoly combines several strategic and creative abilities to increase brain function. This multi-player game balances constant decisions about budgeting and property acquisition with maintenance of steady business relationships with other players.
Board games let you schedule regular game nights with friends to increase your memory retention while also having fun together. If you eventually get bored with the games listed, try these other board games to keep things interesting.
The Grocery List Game
There are several variations of the grocery list game that improve memory function. This group game involves forming a circle, with the first person starting the game with, “I went to the store and bought…” Each subsequent person adds an item to the end of the sentence, and the object of the game is to remember all items in correct order. The first person that messes up the order or cannot remember the items loses.
This quick and easy game is great to play if you do not have any board games, cards, or other items handy. A few friends are all you need to play. The Grocery List Game tests your ability to recall and properly order lists. The game builds connections and expands your brain’s ability to remember, improving your memory over time. To make the game more personal and challenging, you can replace the starting sentence with any topic, such as, “My favorite books are…” Trying to recall long book titles increases the difficulty of the game.
While these games provide many opportunities to improve mental health, living in a vibrant social community is a great way to keep your mind sharp. Older adults that build strong relationships within their community stay motivated both physically and mentally. Combine memory games with regular social interaction to keep your mind sharp. Use these effective individual and group memory games for adults to improve your mental dexterity as you age.