Playing a game or two is good for more than just having fun. It can also support better brain health. Logic, strategy, and visual stimulation can keep seniors’ minds sharp. It’s also the perfect time for you to sit down with your loved one and enjoy a little time together away from your caregiving tasks and duties, which will help strengthen your bond and give you both a little emotional boost.
All  you need to support memory and cognitive function is a simple deck of cards. In addition to boosting brain health, playing cards is a great opportunity for you to spend some time with your favorite seniors or for seniors to get together with others for a little socialization. There are lots of classic options in a range of difficulty levels. A few to consider include:
- Go Fish: It’s simple enough that the grandkids can join in, but it still helps give the brain a workout.
- Gin Rummy: This classic throwback takes a little time to learn and it requires players to pay attention as they play, exercising cognitive function and memory while having fun.
- Poker: Five-card draw, Texas Hold ‘Em – whatever your senior loves to play, deal the cards out and ante up to bond and give your brains a little workout.
- Solitaire: Even a solo game of Solitaire can give seniors’ brains a boost, although it won’t have the added social interaction that provides more brain benefits while supporting mental and emotional health, too.
Checkers and Chess
A  game of strategy can strengthen seniors’ problem-solving abilities and their logic-related skills. Chess is a serious strategy game that can take a while to master, but it also may improve focus and even boost IQ. If chess is too daunting, a game of checkers could provide ample benefits, too. Checkers activates similar areas of the brain as it requires players to keep track of patterns as they play, which can improve memory.
What  senior doesn’t love a game of bingo? It’s a favorite among older people and it’s a frequent flyer in care homes, but there’s no reason you can’t play it at home, too. Bingo encourages social interactions; it also stimulates the brain by including three important senses:
- Sight: Finding the numbers on the Bingo cards
- Hearing: Listening as the caller announces the numbers
- Touch: Using a marker, pen, or token to note the numbers on the Bingo cards
Sudoku , crosswords, and word searches, oh my! From jigsaw puzzles to brain teasers, there’s not a puzzle out there that won’t give seniors’ brains a boost. Working out the answers, fitting pieces together, and finding patterns are just a few of the ways puzzles provide mental stimulation. They’re also great for visual stimulation and entertainment.
Remember  rainy days when you were young and your parents or grandparents would pull out some board games for a little fun? You can recreate some of those memories – and reminisce along the way if the senior you’re playing with now played with you then – by grabbing a classic board game to play together. Some of the top choices for boosting brain health include:
- Mahjong: Another strategy game that exercises the gray matter while entertaining players
- Backgammon: If you want to practice critical thinking, this could be a good one to try
- Scrabble: You need to practice memory and creativity to make words out of tile letters and perhaps get a double-letter, triple-word score
- Monopoly: Math skills, memory, thought, and perception all come into play with this classic game. Even if you don’t pass go and collect $200, you’ll still be having fun and contributing to brain health
- Clue: Reasoning out who the murderer is, the weapon used, and the room where the murder took place flexes your logic-related muscles, supporting sound logic and even helping to potentially protect the brain
Playing games is a great way to spend time together and create experiences. It provides enjoyment and pleasure in addition to reducing stress. Seniors can play even if they’re disabled, making this a sound, healthy leisure activity.