Let’s play a game! Play is an important part of life – no matter how old you are. Games are a great way to have fun on your own or with a group. They offer many benefits in a short period of time. Play is particularly important as we age, for many reasons:
- Encourages social interaction: Games bring people together. This type of connection is vital for decreasing social isolation and loneliness.
- Reduces stress: Playing games can trigger the release of endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins help promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain! Basically, play is a natural mood enhancer.
- Stimulates the mind: Research shows that engaging the mind can help slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, while also enhancing cognitive function, mental clarity and memory retention. Games are also helpful for increasing concentration, reasoning and imagination, especially if your brain is required to learn something new.
- Increases dexterity: Hand dexterity is very important for seniors – a 2018 study found a correlation between well-functioning hands and strong executive function for things like self-control, flexible thinking and working memory.
Whether you’re looking for activities to do this holiday season, or a fun present for a loved one, here are 10 great games for seniors – and players of all ages – to consider.
While doing a puzzle is not necessarily a game, they’re certainly a lot of fun! Doing a puzzle is a great indoor winter activity that multiple generations can enjoy together to achieve a fun goal. It also helps strengthen short-term memory, while engaging the left and right sides of the brain.
2) Left Right Center
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This classic dice game never gets old! Left Right Center is easy to learn and play and fun for all ages. It’s very accessible with quarters and regular dice, but you can also grab the official game set that comes with playing chips.
3) Shake Loose a Memory
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The object of Shake Loose A Memory is to keep as many cards as possible while recalling memories. The game is designed for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, however the questions are simple and fun enough for any age to play. There are no wrong answers, only fun memories to share!
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Piclink was designed to be simple enough for a child to play, but engaging for all ages. The game consists of 36 picture tiles with vibrant images that can be used to create an almost endless variety of games intended to enhance memory, recall and the thinking process, as well as to stimulate creativity and encourage conversation.
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Why not go with a classic – Memory itself! This classic matching game can be fun to play with family of all ages. It’s also available in a variety of styles like famous art, forest animals, or your favorite characters. You can choose your favorite to mix and, well… match!
6) Word Games
For your wordsmith family members, there are a lot of great word games the whole family will enjoy playing. Here are a few favorites:
- Scrabble: A definite classic – there’s even a giant deluxe version of Scrabble complete with a rotating board to make it easy for all players to play.
- Boggle: Great on the go or at home, the original 4×4 grid-based version of Boggle is great fun! If you’re looking for an even greater challenge, check out BIG Boggle!
- Bananagrams: This game is like Scrabble without the board, and up to 8 players can play. There’s also a larger print Bananagrams if the print on the regular tiles is too hard to see.
Talk about a great workout for your brain! Chess is a great game to help engage the brain and help strengthen logical reasoning and problem solving. It’s also a very social game.
8) Checkers / Chinese Checkers
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Like chess, regular checkers is a fun two-person game. If you’d like to include more (up to 6 people) Chinese Checkers is another great option.
9) Trivia Games
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Whether you’re working in teams or individually, trivia games are a great way to exercise your brain and connect! Here are a few favorite trivia games:
10) Deck of Cards
Talk about endless options! There are so many different games that can be brought to life with a deck of cards… remember old favorites like old maid, go fish, rummy, hearts, war. The list goes on. Try planning a game night where everyone brings their favorite card game to play with a deck of cards – you may even learn a new game or two! Here are a few timeless card games for seniors to consider:
- Chinese poker
- Big two
Whether you’re planning for upcoming holiday parties or a regular social game night, there are so many great card games or board games for seniors that the whole family can enjoy. What is your family’s favorite game to play when you get together?