What are the best mind games for seniors to provide maximum brain exercise?
I’ve got an elderly parent that often forgets and misplaces things, so I researched suitable mind and memory games to improve cognitive abilities.
And I’m here to share the best brain training games to keep your loved ones’ minds sharp and active.
Just keep reading.
- Brain games are an excellent way to enhance cognitive skills, slow dementia, and increase problem-solving skills.
- Playing mind games can improve mood, relieve loneliness, and boost social interactions.
- Consider the player’s interests and game difficulty when choosing the best mind games for seniors.
Top 11 Mind Games for Seniors
Do you know that board, card, and video games benefit brain health? They develop cognitive skills, creativity, and strategic thinking.
Moreover, brain games can improve short-term memory, concentration, and visual-spatial skills. And according to some studies, brain exercises can preserve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients. (1)
The clinical professor of psychiatry Karen Miller also says, “If something is novel and challenging to the brain, then that’s going to benefit brain function.” (2)
So, what are the best mind games for seniors to stimulate brain activity? Here are my top 11 picks!
Sudoku is an excellent way to keep the brain active. It’s a simple game with numbers, where you have to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers from 1 to 9 without repeating numbers in rows, columns, and 3×3 regions.
I like the best the online version of Sudoku because you can correct your mistakes easily, get hints if you get stuck, and choose your difficulty level.
Everyone can learn to play this logic puzzle because it requires no special skills. And you can start from the beginner level and build your problem-solving skills.
And according to a study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, people that play puzzles, such as Sudoku, have better brain function.
Looking to learn how to play Sudoku? Check out this informative video that breaks down the rules and strategies for this popular logic-based puzzle game:
Crossword puzzles remain one of the best mind games for seniors. They enhance vocabulary, keep your mind sharp, and relieve stress.
Solving crossword clues can also slow cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s or delay the onset of the disease, according to a study. (3)
You can get plenty of crossword books on Amazon or try an online app, such as Daily Crossword, which gives you access to a new crossword daily.
Looking for fun and engaging outdoor games for senior citizens? Check out our informative article for some exciting ideas that promote physical activity and social interaction. Click on the link to learn more!
Looking to learn how to play crossword and improve your wordplay skills? Check out this informative video that breaks down the rules and strategies for this classic puzzle game:
#3 Brain Trainer
Brain Trainer is a flash game offering several mini-challenges in four categories – memory, reaction, logic, and focus. It’s perfect for seniors because it’s easy, free, and allows you to track your progress.
Moreover, you have a daily task to complete, ensuring you get your daily dose of light mental workout.
Hey, while you’re here, why not check out my article on the best video games for seniors? It might inspire you to pick up a controller and join the fun!
#4 Spider Solitaire
Solitaires remain one of the most popular card games. And Spider Solitaire is an excellent mind exercise for seniors because you have to build a deck of 13 cards from the same suit.
It develops your cognitive abilities, improves your mental health, and increases your reflexes. It’s also suitable for relaxing and lowering stress/blood pressure levels.
I also like that experienced players can opt for a game with four suits instead of two.
Get ready to master the art of Spider Solitaire and impress your friends with your card game skills! Check out this informative video on how to play Spider Solitaire:
Tetris is a fun activity for children, adults, and seniors. Your object is to complete lines by moving pieces with different shapes. Once you complete a line, it disappears, and you score points.
While simple, the game trains your hand-eye coordination, strategy thinking, and problem-solving abilities.
Lumosity is a brain training app, perfect for exercising speed, problem-solving, flexibility, and memory. Its program features a 10-minute test to check your base and show you how you compete with others.
It offers various puzzles, but if you want something more challenging, you can pay the subscription fee and get the premium version.
#7 Jigsaw Puzzles
Online puzzles are fun games, and they’re an excellent way to improve your short-term memory skills. That’s because you have to recall where the matching pieces are.
And ordinary jigsaw puzzles can strengthen problem-solving abilities, speed of processing, and social interaction (if you play them with friends).
Check this video for a short demonstration of the Fit test.
Chess is a classic game for keeping the mind sharp. But it’s not always easy to find friends to play with daily.
Fortunately, this online game allows you to play chess against a computer or find a friend online to share the experience.
So, chess is great for improving mood, memory, and logic skills. It also develops your creativity, allows you to exercise both sides of the brain, and increase concentration levels.
Discover the numerous cognitive and social benefits of playing chess and brain games as a senior citizen in this video:
Majjongh seems simple, but it helps you develop your pattern recognition skills because you have to match two of the same tiles.
Moreover, it’s easy to play with and can be a way to bond with friends, family, and children. It also enhances hand-eye coordination, memory skills, and brain power.
According to studies, playing Mahjongh slows cognitive decline and improves seniors’ overall mood and well-being. And it gives you a sense of accomplishment when you solve a difficult board! (4)
Are you looking for fun games to enhance your performance or improve your cognitive health? MentalUp has various senior-friendly games that can sharpen your brain skills!
You’ve got word puzzles to build your language skills, stimulating games to strengthen your memory, and cognitive tasks to improve cognitive health.
Best of all, it has a personalized daily program to track your progress.
Checkers is a popular board game, perfect for boosting your problem-solving skills because you must predict your opponent’s moves.
Moreover, Checkers requires several players to take part, so it’s excellent for making friends and can improve your mental health.
And online Checkers is a suitable choice for seniors with anxiety or who can’t do much physical exercise.
Looking to learn how to play the classic game of Checkers? Check out this informative video that breaks down the rules and strategies for this beloved board game, which is perfect for players of all ages and skill levels:
Who doesn’t love playing Scrabble? It’s an excellent way to enhance your vocabulary, exercise your brain, and improve your focus.
Moreover, Scrabble can boost your mood because it’s a multiplayer game requiring you to interact with others.
#13 Wheel of Fortune
My final recommendation is an all-favorite game – Wheel of Fortune. Spin the wheel and train your brain to solve the puzzles. You can play with family, friends, and Wheel of Fortune fans worldwide.
I love that it offers various puzzles and a great way to experience the thrill of buying vowels and guessing letters.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mind Games for Seniors?
Since so many mind games for seniors exist, it can be hard to pick the right one for your loved ones. To make it easy, keep these three things in mind.
#1 Game Type
Mind games come in different formats, from board games to puzzle books to online games. Think about which type is the most suitable for your situation. After all, not all seniors can use phones or tablets.
Some games seem simple, but they can be impossible for some seniors to complete. And that’s bad for their emotional health.
Start with beginner puzzle games to ensure you provide a challenging but not too difficult game.
#3 Player’s Interest
Not all seniors like to play Scrabble, Solitaire, or chess. Choose a game that matches their interests and hobby.
1. What are simple memory exercises for seniors?
The simplest memory exercise is counting backward from 100 to 1 by two. You can also play mind games or solve crossword puzzles.
2. How do you keep a senior’s mind active?
Stimulate the mind with puzzles, math problems, and learning new skills. Seniors can also take up a new hobby to keep their mind active.
3. What is the best puzzle game for the elderly?
Word puzzles, jigsaws, and crosswords are among the best puzzle games for the elderly because they strengthen the mind, improve memory, and increase confidence.
Mind games for seniors are perfect for boosting memory, widening your knowledge, and slowing cognitive decline in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
And you don’t need to spend hours playing games to reap the benefits. A couple of minutes per day is all you need.
What do you think about these mind games for seniors? Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
1. Zhang H, Wang Z, Wang J, Lyu X, Wang X, Liu Y, et al. Computerized multi-domain cognitive training reduces brain atrophy in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Translational Psychiatry. 2019;9.
2. Collins S. Playing Computer Games to Boost Aging Brains [Internet]. WebMD. [cited 2023 Mar 29]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/brain-training/20141211/brain-training-memory-dementia
3. Pillai JA, Hall CB, Dickson DW, Buschke H, Lipton RB, Verghese J. Association of Crossword Puzzle Participation with Memory Decline in Persons Who Develop Dementia. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS [Internet]. 2011;17. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3885259/
4. Zhang H, Peng Y, Li C, Lan H, Xing G, Chen Z, et al. Playing Mahjong for 12 Weeks Improved Executive Function in Elderly People With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Study of Implications for TBI-Induced Cognitive Deficits. Frontiers in Neurology [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 4];11. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120035/