Memory games for elderly people

What are cognitive abilities?

Cognitive abilities are “tools” of the human brain that allow us to grasp concepts, understand ideas, maintain relationships with others and participate in daily life. In other words, cognitive abilities allow us to obtain and understand knowledge by using all five of our senses.

Cognitive abilities begin to develop in our first years of life. This phase is essential for developing the ability to deal with one’s surroundings. Although we are able to develop a number of skills thanks to our cognitive abilities, they don’t last forever. Just like us, they age.

Why do these abilities get worse with age?

The aging process brings with it a number of changes to our brain functions. One of the most frequent changes involves the speed of information processing. Aging is furthermore accompanied by several lifestyle and behavior changes such as increased distance from one’s relatives and a routine that lacks physical exertion.

Our cognitive abilities reach their peak at 30 years of age and stay there until we are about 50. Even though there are no general rules that apply to all people it is generally accepted that information processing starts to slow down when we turn 50.

While this is a natural process, there are certain behavioural and brain function changes that cause it to accelerate. Some of these include: 
  • Decreased understanding;
  • Impaired ability to think;
  • Difficulties carrying out simple tasks;
  • Memory loss;
  • Attention loss.
It is important to note that these are natural symptoms of the physical aging process and it does not necessarily point to an underlying serious illness. If cognitive decline proceeds faster than usual, however, illnesses such as Alzheimer’s can develop.

The best thing to do is to have elderly people examined by a doctor regularly and to pay attention to atypical behavior. That way we can make healthy aging easier for our elderly.

How can memory games help elderly people?

The human brain works like a muscle. To keep it continually stimulated it must be worked regularly, regardless of a person’s age. Physical obstacles at an advanced age make this muscle become weaker and weaker. The key to maintaining its function lies in training.

Memory games are simple and mighty weapons to combat this problem as they stimulate one’s ability to think, remember and store information. The following is a list of games designed to train elderly people’s memory.

Spot the difference games

These games are very well known, especially among children, but are regarded as one of the most effective to stimulate elderly people’s brains. They train one’s ability to analyze by looking at two seemingly identical images and looking for differences in the small details. There are electronic ‘spot the difference’ games or they can also be printed off the Internet.

Cross word puzzles

Cross word puzzles are an old favorite among the elderly. Most elderly people don’t even realize that this hobby is better for their memory than they might think. Cross word puzzles are an excellent way to stimulate one’s brain by looking for unknown words. This stimulus is food for the brain that results in the brain craving more and more of it. In their traditional form, cross word puzzles are easy to find – in magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet.

Card games and Dominoes

Card games and Dominoes require players to think of a winning strategy. This promotes one’s ability to concentrate, think and memorize. Apart from these benefits, these games also promote community and social interaction as they are played with other people.

Memory games

This game can be played alone but it is much more fun to compete with others. The goal is to find pairs of picture cards that are distributed across the table and always stay in the same place. If they want to win the game, the players have to store information. Furthermore, it promotes a healthy sense of competition.

How can elderly people be motivated to play games?

Without a doubt these games can be extremely helpful, but it is not always easy to convince a person of advanced age to participate in such an activity. This is why it is important to find out if the person in question suffers from a more serious limitation that might make them ashamed or prevent them from fully taking part in a game. One of the main causes is hearing loss, which often makes people avoid social interaction.

It’s important to prioritize treating this condition, for instance with hearing aids to allow people to recover their hearing and re-integrate into social groups.

You can also peak an elderly person’s interest by making the moment something special, funny or inspiring. For this purpose, you might want to involve family members and create a pleasant environment. Don't be too strict when playing and avoid helping the elderly person out if they fail to complete a task the first time.

Many people don't know how important memory games are for people of advanced age, but they have a proven effectiveness that has helped thousands of people with healthy aging.

The best thing about memory games is that they are an feasible solution for everyone, from both a financial and accessibility standpoint. Invest in memory games for elderly people and make aging easier for your loved ones!

Do you or a relative have hearing issues? Take a first step and book an appointment for a free hearing test and consultation with a hearing care professional to stay connected to the sounds that matter most.