As we get older, the mental benefits of puzzles and brain-boosting games become even more important for maintaining mental strength and health. While solving sudoku or completing a crossword might seem trivial, regularly exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body. It can make a big difference in our everyday wellbeing.
Jigsaws, chess, checkers, and a cheeky game of dominoes aren’t just fun, they help us socialise, keep quick and keep fit, strong, and ready for a roaring retirement. As a lifestyle retirement village that prioritises senior wellbeing, we know a thing or two about the benefits of brain games! Let’s delve into some of the benefits of mind maintenance through stimulating games.
The Benefits of Puzzles and Brain Games in Later Life
No matter what stage of life we’re in, there are very few downsides to puzzles and playtime for the brain. But as we age, the mind needs a little more love to keep on top of everything, especially as the world around us evolves.
Puzzle & Mental Games Improve Brain Elasticity
Brain elasticity sounds complicated, but it really just refers to how much new information the brain can take in, and keep in. Mind games are a great way to improve the elasticity of our brains. They can help us stretch our depth of knowledge by forcing the brain to think and work, which requires more blood for the brain. More blood flowing into our brain means cells are flushed and invigorated, which allows cells to live longer or be replenished by new cells forming.
These new or reinvigorated cells mean our brains can process problems faster and come up with more or increasingly creative solutions. It also means we can store more knowledge. So next time Trivial Pursuit is on the cards, we know who’s first in line!
Help to Reduce Anxiety & Depression
One of the major benefits of puzzles for seniors is their help in alleviating anxiety and depression. Depression shouldn’t be a given in later life, and brain games are a great way to fortify the mind and actively improve our mental wellbeing.
Not only do mind games give us a fun activity to pass the time with, but they also help us feel a sense of accomplishment. The feeling of completing a word search or finally finishing that niggly crossword puzzle provides the pleasure of achievement. Add to this the social nature of board games (such as chess and checkers), which helps us curb the loneliness one can sometimes encounter in later life.
Improve Our Motor Skills for Physical Benefits
Brain games and puzzle benefits aren’t only for the mind, they’re for the body too. It sounds simple, but the effort it takes to pick up a pen to write or draw can become greater as we age. Writing, drawing, and Jigsaw puzzles help us keep our hands engaged with our minds. The mind-body connection needs to be practised to be maintained, so games involving our hands are fantastic for our mental and physical health!
Help to Jog Our Memories
As we said earlier, puzzles help to keep our brains engaged and ready, and they also help us retain information. The more a brain works, the stronger it becomes. With this brain strength comes the ability to hold information, and create memories not so easily forgotten.
Best Puzzles & Brain Games for Mental Health
If we’ve convinced you of the benefits of puzzle and brain games but you’re not quite sure where to start, no worries! Here are a few ideas to kickstart your puzzle party.
If you’re more of a number nerd than a wordsmith, sudoku is the game for you. You only have to deal in single digits, but don’t let that fool you, even the best can be bamboozled by this deceptively simple square.
Complete a Crossword
One of the best ways to keep the brain engaged is through a crossword. Revitalise your vocab by finding your local paper’s daily word puzzle, you’ll be a walking dictionary in no time!
Gin rummy, snap, solitaire, or even a cheeky game of poker is a great way to get the brain working. Not only is it a good mental stretch, but cards also improve your dexterity by picking up, putting down, and even holding a hand! We love a game that ticks all the boxes.
A Good Old-fashioned (Or New) Board Game!
If your social game is suffering, get the whole retirement village involved with a night of board games! Dig up a Scrabble set, unearth the Monopoly board and dust off your dominoes for a friendly (or not so friendly) competition! There’s also a huge range of creative new games to try out, such as Dixit (for art lovers), and Citadels (if you’re up for a city-building adventure with a bit of deception and role play in the mix!).
Get to the Top of Your Game at Settlers Lifestyle Village
Retirement doesn’t have to be dull, it can be the most exciting and invigorating time of life! Puzzles and mental games are a great way to keep our brains engaged and ready for everything life throws at us. At Settlers Lifestyle Village, our retirement apartments on Auckland’s North Shore offer a great spot to host game nights or find your next friend to compare crossword notes.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you find your perfect place for retirement.