9 Brain Games for Seniors to Target Different Areas
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Brain Games for Creative Problem Solving
Everyone enjoys a good riddle! Keep that brain sharp and nimble with challenging problems you need to solve in creative ways.
1. Brain Teaser Games
The world doesn’t always make sense. And the correct answer isn’t always immediately obvious. Sometimes, you need to look at the situation from a different perspective. This is all the more reason why brain teaser games can be both challenging and fun. If you like thinking on your toes and exercising a bit of that creative muscle, brain teasers are a great way to go.
Get started with collections from Braingle and Reader’s Digest. Here’s an example: “A sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece. Which has the most?” The answer is an hourglass, because it has thousands of grains of sand!
2. Rebus Puzzles
How would you interpret a picture that had the word LINE, the word READ below it, and then the word LINE again below that? This is an example of a rebus puzzle. The goal is to reinterpret a combination of pictures, letters and words as another word or phrase. In this case, the answer is “read between the lines.”
Over on Parade.com, you’ll find an assortment of 25 rebus puzzles. Alternatively, you might decide to download REBUS - Absurd Logic Game by Jutiful for Android. There’s also Rebus Puzzles! by Refik Kasal for Apple iOS devices.
Word Games for Vocabulary
Language skills are naturally central to good communication. This means seniors can benefit both from reinforcing existing vocabulary and learning new words. There are tons of online word games for seniors. Keep the inner wordsmith thriving with these additional free brain games.
3. Crossword Puzzles
Classic crossword puzzles are a perennial favorite for good reason! They challenge your word and trivia knowledge, as well as your puzzle-solving ability. For seniors who prefer the traditional paper and pen, there’s no shortage of crossword puzzle books. You’ll find daily crosswords in local newspapers too.
If you’d prefer to go online, Boatload Puzzles boasts over 40,000 free crossword puzzles you can solve from the comfort of your web browser. To keep playing on the go, consider some of the best crossword apps for iOS and Android devices, like The New York Times crossword app.
4. Word Search Puzzles
Which is the bigger staple of word games: crosswords or word searches? If crossword puzzles aren’t your thing, then one of the top brain games for seniors has to be the word search. Just as you’ll find lots of books with crosswords, the same is true with word searches.
5. 4 Pics 1 Word
With 4 Pics 1 Word, the mobile game shows you four pictures. Your job is to find the one word that the four pictures have in common. The game will show you how many letters are in the answer. It will also provide a selection of letters you can use to come up with the answer. In this way, 4 Pics 1 Word is one part anagram, one part Pictionary, and all parts fun!
And, if you get stuck on a level, fear not! Get the 4 Pics 1 Word answers you need by using our handy word finder tool. Enter the letters you have, enter the desired word length, and you’re good to go.
Memory Games to Fight Dementia
Among the health concerns adults might face as they get older, the risk of dementia plays prominently. To help keep the mind as sharp as possible, it’s helpful to play a variety of games to improve memory. An engaged brain is a healthy brain.
6. Match the Words
You’ve surely played some version of the memory game at some point in your life. You might also know it as Concentration. The idea is that you flip two cards at a time, looking for a matching pair. If they don’t match, you turn them face down and try again. Regular playing cards work just fine.
Among the free brain games for seniors that BrightFocus offers is Match the Words. It’s like a classic game of concentration. Instead of playing cards, though, you reveal a color word in a different colored font. For example, you might see the word “orange” in a green font. This extra layer of complexity adds to the challenge and fun!
7. Random Trivia Generator
When considering brain games for seniors, it’s important not only to consider games involving short-term memory. It’s important to work on long-term memory and recall too. Watching and playing along with game shows like Jeopardy! can help. Playing trivia games on your own can be terrific too.
A great site to explore is the appropriately-named Random Trivia Generator. The homepage features trivia questions across a broad range of categories. Try to answer these random trivia questions as they appear. Or, click on a category to explore trivia questions about history, entertainment, science, geography and more.
Puzzle Games for Logic and Reasoning
How are you at solving logic puzzles. Engage your brain by working through problems in a logical, systematic way. Make sense of the world and put things in order.
If you enjoy solving puzzles like Sudoku, you’ll find a lot to like about nonograms too. A nonogram is similar to Sudoku in that both involve number logic (but not difficult math). Instead of figuring out how to fit the numbers 1 through 9 in each row, column and square, you must color in the correct squares.
For each row and column, you’ll see the number of squares you need to color. For example, if you see a 5 and a 2 for a row, then you need to color one group of 5 squares and another group of 2 squares in that row. The challenge is figuring out which squares to color, as you must align with all the instructions. Solve the puzzle and reveal the hidden image. Nonogram.com by Easybrain has free apps for iOS and Android devices. You can also play via your web browser at nonogramsonline.com.
9. Jigidi Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are among the most popular brain games for seniors when it comes to spatial reasoning. You’ve got to figure out how all the pieces fit together to complete your picture. For many older adults struggling with dexterity issues or arthritis, though, small puzzle pieces can be tough to handle.
Going digital, like on a big tablet with a stylus, might be easier. Explore a great variety of online jigsaw puzzles at Jigidi. Browse the selection based on category or size, search for something specific, or even create your own jigsaw puzzle by uploading an image. The interface is touch-friendly with pan and zoom options.
More Brain Games for Senior Health
Memory games, brain teaser games and word games are all beneficial for mental health among older adults. Lifting barbells alone isn’t enough for overall physical health. Similarly, sticking to just one mental activity isn’t enough for brain health either. A diverse range of brain games for seniors is just what the doctor ordered.
For more on this topic, explore some stimulating mind games on our sister site, LoveToKnow.com. Explore a variety of games that stretch your mental faculties and encourage greater neuroplasticity. And remember to have fun too!
Michael Kwan is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience. Fueled by caffeine and WiFi, he's no stranger to word games and dad jokes.