Playing Brain Games Improves Mental Health and Memory in the Elderly

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Have you ever found a fun brain game online that you simply could not stop thinking about? A challenging exercise that you just had to solve? These short puzzles can be interesting and entertaining, but did you know that they can improve memory, daily life skills, and overall mental health?

Recent studies have shown that spending 5 to 10 minutes every day trying to complete one of these brain puzzles can significantly increase mental well-being, especially among the elderly. As people get older, these games can really help maintain strong memory and reasoning skills.

Here are some examples of games that have been tested and found to be effective. Try them out and see how you do…

Language and Brain Connections

The aim of this first puzzle is to help stimulate the brain and allow it to make connections. Here’s how it works:

“In the left column you have a pair of words. Your goal is to find a third word that is connected or associated with both of these two words.

Let’s take the first pair as an example, PIANO and LOCK. The answer is KEY. The word key is connected with both the word piano and the word lock: there are KEYS on a piano and you use a KEY to lock doors.”

  1. LOCK – PIANO
  2. SHIP – CARD
  3. TREE – CAR
  4. SCHOOL – EYE
  5. PILLOW – COURT
  6. RIVER – MONEY

(Click here for more information and puzzles along with the answers)

Logic and Reasoning

This next puzzle is designed to test a person’s ability to use information provided to them and come up with a logical answer. Below is an image of a bus. Can you figure out which direction the bus is travelling?

 

Hint: The bus is either traveling left or right. This is not a trick question.

If you think you have the right answer or you can’t come up with a solution, click here to find out which way this bus is moving!

Memory and Attention

While brain puzzles might not be that easy, they can give your mind a work out. Even if you do not solve them all, trying and putting in the effort is what makes the difference. Here are some games that target memory and attention. See if you do better with these…

  1. Name two objects for every letter in your first name. Work up to five objects, try­ing to use different items each time.
  2. Say the months of the year in alpha­bet­i­cal order.
  3. Name six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with “s”
  4. Look around wherever you are and, within two minutes, try to find 5 red things that will fit in your pockets, and 5 blue objects that are too big to fit.

For another attention and memory test, click here and see if you can solve this puzzle.

Research and Positive Effects of Brain Games

Several recent studies have shown improvement in the brain function of thousands of elderly people who participated in these brain exercises. Here are some other articles and studies that provide research on this topic.

An article on WebMD discusses a study on brain training and dementia. It shows that elderly people who spent 5 to 6 weeks consistently completing brain exercises experienced improvements to their mental health in areas of memory, reasoning, and information processing. The effects of these exercises lasted at least 5 years. This means that, by playing brain games, the negative mental effects brought on by old age can be slowed or delayed significantly. This could add several more good years to a person’s life before the brain deteriorates.

Research conducted by King’s College that was funded by the Alzheimer’s Society tested 7,000 people over the age of 50 and recorded definite improvement in the life-style and memory of the elderly as a result of brain training.

Scientists have written articles and designed interactive brain games that specifically help brain function for people with dementia. To play these games or learn more, click here.

Unforgettable provide a range of games and activities for those living with dementia to keep your loved ones active, engaged and happy. To find out more, visit their website.

Written by Celia Monroe

References

“Brain Exercises and Dementia”, WebMD.
“Brain training improves memory and performance of everyday tasks in older people”, KCL Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.

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