It is well-known that playing games can help stimulate the growth of the minds in young children, during their early stages of development. What some neglect to realize, however, is that mentally-stimulating and challenging games can be just as important in later adulthood. For seniors especially, engaging in brain games can be an effective way to offset the effects of Alzheimer’s and other mentally debilitating conditions.
Helpful brain games can be found in a variety of forms: board games, crosswords, scrabble, and puzzles, just to name a few. While it can be inconvenient to purchase the materials necessary for these games, there is now an abundance of websites with free brain games designed perfectly for seniors.
Keep reading to find out some of the best online sources for free brain games for seniors, and what games are best!
What Games Should Seniors be Playing?
Crosswords are great, but they rely on recalling information we already know. Try online versions of games like Scrabble and other word-scrambling games that train your brain in word creation and recognition. Word game apps are a great resource as well!
Other games that are great for your mind are memory games. These not only test your memory in its current state, they also help build it—you’ll find that the more memory games you play, the better you become at them. There are some really fun and entertaining memory games out there, so don’t dismiss them as just simple matching games.
Just doing a little bit of simple math every day can help your mind maintain those neural pathways. One of the best out there is sudoku. This classic brain not only forces you to add small numbers, it also trains your brain to recognize patterns and serves as a logic puzzle composed only of numbers. Sudoku puzzles are created at a variety of difficulty levels, so if you’re new to the game you can ease into, or if you’re a Sudoku pro you can continue to challenge yourself. The physical sudoku pad is not necessary to enjoy this classic game—you can play web sudoku and keep the game fresh and portable.
Where to Play Brain Games Online
AARP has a great collection of free brain games that are perfect for seniors. From crosswords to mahjong to solitaire, AARP’s collection of games to train your game feature many classical games right at the touch of your fingers.
Its games are neatly divided into categories with distinct visuals that make their website easy to use for even the least tech-savvy individuals. Many of the games are themed as well, lending the website a fun, almost casino-like quality that lend these brain games for seniors a fun and appealing design.
One of the best categories of games to pay attention to is strategy—strategy games often involve numbers, words, pattern recognition, logical and critical thinking, and more. Try honing your brain with their strategy games to really challenge yourself.
You can also use AARP’s free Brain Health Assessment in order to gain an understanding of where your mind is at, and what areas could use improvement, to tailor your game selection in the most useful way possible.
Another great website to check out is Lumosity. By simply creating a account, you will have access to the entire collection of Lumosity’s free games. Lumosity’s website is easy to navigate and has a great collection of games that each focus on a different cognitive skill: Language, Math, Memory, Speed, Problem-Solving, Attention, and Flexibility. Lumosity is always continuing making games and adding new skills, so be sure to check in and see what’s new.
These games can all easily be played on both your computer and your smartphone via a helpful app.
How to Pick the Appropriate Challenge Level
Web versions of brain games for seniors are great for a variety of reasons, one of the being that many easily allow to choose the level or setting that is best for you. It is important in selecting a game level to pick the correct amount of challenge.
It can be easy to play games you’re good at and not push yourself. Doing the same thing over and over too easily, however, does not push your brain in the way that it should. If you complete a game and think, “well, that was easy,” try increasing the difficulty a little the next time around.
Don’t go too hard on yourself, either. Choose a level that is challenging, but not impossible. No one likes feeling like they’ve run up against a wall and can’t do anything else. Being overly frustrated helps nobody, especially not yourself. So, while challenging yourself, remember to be reasonable in your expectations and, most importantly, have fun. That’s really why we play games, after all.
Feature image via Sixty and Me