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Can Playing Games Boost Elderly Brain Health?

By Nick Paciello, 9:00 am on

When providing home care in Henderson, one of the best ways to promote your senior loved one’s mental and emotional wellness is by playing games. Studies have shown elderly people who regularly partake in activities that stimulate the brain have increased cognitive function, memory, and learning abilities. Typically, they retain these capabilities better and longer than those who do not regularly stimulate their minds. Here are just a few ways your loved one may benefit from regular participation in games.

Better Short-Term Memory

One great benefit of playing games is the chance to use short-term memory. Remembering whose turn it is, what the instructions are saying a turn should involve, and knowing what is required to win are all exercises for the short-term memory. For seniors, short-term memory is one of the first types of memory to see the effects of aging. Forgetting names of casual acquaintances and where keys were left are common examples of short-term memory failures. The stimulation games offer can slow cognitive decline and keep short-term memory healthy. Games good for reducing forgetfulness are ones that repeat a range of behaviors such as Uno or Monopoly.

Reduced Risk of Dementia

Many seniors have normal memory loss related to aging, but developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is quite different and the symptoms are progressively severe. Luckily, studies are showing some activities significantly reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. One study with 20 years of follow-up shows a 15 percent less likely occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in elderly people who played games at least once a week. Further, the study suggested any type of game is equally effective, meaning your loved one can enjoy his or her favorite and still benefit from it.

Greater Emotional Stability

Elderly people who play games also tend to have a reduced risk of depression and report an overall higher quality of life. Emotional health is related to the brain and is extremely important to your loved one’s wellbeing. Seniors often experience major life changes that can be difficult to accept and lead to a sense of sadness and anxiety. However, playing a game is an enjoyable activity that can give your loved one a chance to partake in something fun with other people. Focusing on the enjoyment of looking forward to a game can also ward off negativity. Any game your loved one takes joy in playing is good for increasing emotional stability. Consider old family favorites as well as new games. 

Increased Mental Agility

Playing games, especially if your loved one plays a variety of games, can promote mental agility and help his or her brain develop new pathways and thought channels. When the brain becomes more agile, it is able to think in new ways and become stronger, boosting the way a person thinks, remembers, and learns new skills. The best games for increasing mental agility are ones that invoke many different ways of thinking such as chess or Trivial Pursuit.

Games and activities specifically designed to boost brain health may be even more beneficial for your loved one. The Henderson dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance have created an activities-based program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which is designed to help seniors with memory-related conditions build new routines to look forward to and engage with others in an enjoyable way.

If your loved one needs specialized dementia or Alzheimer’s home care Henderson families trust, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist him or her with a variety of daily activities, and the Cognitive Therapeutics Method is included at no additional cost. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (702) 527-7723 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.