Concerned about maintaining healthy brain function in old age? Perhaps you worry about an elderly relative who is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia. Or perhaps you’re familiar with the data on memory loss in the elderly.
Are you aware that between the age of 25 and 54, the world’s population swells by slightly over 40%? That 18% are aged 55 and up?
Also, various studies conducted in the past 15 years have shown that anywhere between 11-13% of the elderly population in the United States suffers from dementia.
The Benefits of Adult Brain Games
You’ve certainly seen commercials for various games and brain training applications, all of which promise to be the greatest method to maintain cognitive function as you age.
The scientific community, it turns out, is split on the veracity of such assertions.
In 2014, two groups of experts with conflicting views on the effectiveness of brain training released letters saying, respectively, 1) there is no scientific foundation again for the efficacy of cognitive therapy, and 2) there is abundant evidence for the “brain training effect.”
How can we know if playing brain games is beneficial for maintaining brain health if even huge groups of experts can’t agree? What I kept coming across in my study for this topic was that although brain training games could be helpful, so would other cognitive activities.
It’s likely that chess was one of your first mental challenges when you thought of sophisticated games. Some of the best players of all time—including Garry Kasparov, Bob Fischer, and even Deep Blue—demonstrate that chess is an intellectual pursuit that requires planning and focus.
When you play chess, you’re using your working memory & improving your brain’s executive function through the act of planning and strategy. Decisions may be made more quickly, and focus is sharpened, thanks to this.
If gambling is a pleasure for you, it might boost your mood and self-esteem. Some of the best gambling websites have improved people’s moods, health, and general well-being. Gambling’s positive effects on the human body and mind are undeniable.
Although casual gamblers run the danger of losing money, they also stand to gain a lot. Gambling’s positive effects on health include improved cognitive function and motor skill development. Betting may be a fun way for people to get out of the house and use their minds. Anticipating defeat is awful, but the release of dopamine boosts mood.
Crossword puzzles have been heralded as a panacea for preventing mental deterioration in older adults. Memory and focus are two qualities that may be honed while playing these puzzles, and fluency can also be boosted.
If the riddles start to feel too simple, it’s usually time to transition to another brain-stimulating hobby, as is the case with all the puzzles and games we’ll examine today. If you generally play American crosswords, for instance, you may switch to the British form (especially their “cryptic crosswords”) to put your riddle and puzzle-solving abilities to the test.
Crosswords, regardless of complexity, are notorious for encouraging cheating. However, if you cheat, you are not benefiting from the mental challenge you believe you are experiencing.
As well as several online iterations, this game may be played in a seemingly infinite variety of ways. Put any number of cards face down, turn over two at a time and try to recall where the matches are in order to match as many pairs as possible as rapidly as possible, regardless of the variant you pick.
When playing a card game, it’s common practice to maintain the cards in tidy rows, but you may increase the difficulty by sprinkling them across the table.
Here are 13 more reasons why you should use a card-memorization system, taking your game to the next level. Think of the mental workout you’ll receive from being able to reorder a deck of cards from random.
Do you want to improve your ability to recall things quickly? It’s that jigsaw puzzles are just what the doctor ordered. Your brain needs to try to make sense of all of the different colors and forms, and the more parts a puzzle has, the more difficult it is for your brain to do this task. Dopamine is released into your system whenever you successfully place a jigsaw piece in its proper location.
Try to solve the problem without using any of the architectural hints by inverting the components of the puzzle and working on it that way. This will add a new dimension of difficulty to the process of putting together the puzzle.
Left Vs Right
Left vs. Right’s purpose was to “challenge your alertness, flexibility, reaction, logic, accuracy, and patience,” as the developers put it.
You may test your cognitive abilities with the aid of the free brain practice matches that are featured in this software, which is accessible on Google Play, Apple Store, & Amazon. Even though downloading the app is completely free, there are optional in-app payments available, such as a VIP subscription that grants access to all 49 of the games.
Peak Brain Training
Memory, attention, mathematics, problem-solving, mental acuity, language, coordination, & emotional management are just some of the topics that are covered in Peak Brain Training’s collection of more than 35 different brain games. They are based on studies conducted at Cambridge, Yale, UCL, and King’s College London, and are meant to be strong mental exercises that are only a few minutes long.
You also have the option to make an investment in Peak Pro, which grants you access to “dozens of personalized exercises, comprehensive analysis of your performance to enable you to go farther, and access to the whole catalog of more than 40 activities and games. You can get Peak from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Growing older does not mean you accept cognitive deterioration and ultimately dementia. In fact, if you put this article’s advice to use, you’ll have twenty more tools at your disposal to combat cognitive decline as you age… also enjoy yourself as you go.
As you remain physically active, diet for brain health, & stay cognitively and socially engaged, you can keep your brain active and healthy for the long haul. Dementia might be frightening, but there are tests physicians use to rule it out.
But keep in mind that there is always a price to pay for the time you spend on brain-training games.
Using the Memories Palace method, I found that Tetris provides a more effective mental workout than, say, Fishdom. Even if this result is based solely on anecdotes, it may still provide useful information for your own decision-making.
After a round of Tetris, I’m done with the game. However, there are moments when I play Fishdom when a portion of my mind is still arranging shells and detonating bombs. Not something I want to be brought to mind in that way.
Since Tetris involves arranging blocks such that they vanish without exploding, it’s possible that it doesn’t have this impact.
Also, I’m confused as to how one might employ Fishdom as a Memory Palace. In contrast, the static nature of Tetris’s display makes it ideal for committing a manageable quantity of data to memory.
Either way, they may provide a welcome diversion while still providing a healthy dose of mental stimulation.
I find that utilizing a Memory Palace is more entertaining than either of these alternatives. To ensure you retain the new words you’ve learned (possibly in a foreign language), you should work on strengthening your memory