Board and card games aren’t just for children. In fact, they can also be perfect for seniors looking to benefit from an added cognitive boost later in life. While not high-tech, games of this nature are easy to play and highly adaptable to skill levels and capabilities. What’s more, there are some more specific and very compelling reasons both board and card games can be good for a senior’s cognitive health.
1. Reduce the Risk of Dementia
Reduced cognition increases the risk of developing dementia. But a 2013 French study found board games, which researchers defined as including card games, may lower dementia risk by as much as 15 percent. Separate research, including results from a longitudinal study referenced by the National Institutes of Health, suggests games of this nature may also minimize this risk by encouraging beneficial social engagement and interaction that keeps an aging brain stimulated.
A home caregiver can be a fantastic game-playing partner for your aging loved one. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life
1. Decrease Stress & Promote Relaxation
More than half of the people surveyed by RealNetworks reported primarily playing board and card games to relieve stress. This is cognitively beneficial for older adults, since stress can affect mental clarity. The Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Learning Network has also associated chronic stress with memory challenges in older adults. Board and card games are naturally fun, which can certainly ease stress and anxiety for senior players.
3. Boost the Release of “Happiness Hormones”
Playing board and card games can make older adults happier, especially if you include games that bring back pleasant memories for your aging loved one. When the brain is experiencing positive, happy thoughts, more hormones called endorphins are produced. These so-called “feel-good” hormones enhance cognition by contributing to a neurochemical boost that helps brain cells work better.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
A recent presentation by the American Heart Association suggests managing high blood pressure may boost cognitive health. The boost in happiness and relaxation associated with board and card games may also increase circulation, which allows blood to flow easier. The end result could be a natural decrease in blood pressure. This benefit can be further enhanced for seniors with positive lifestyle changes. For instance, you might serve sliced carrots or cucumbers, Greek yogurt cups, or other healthy snacks when you play card or board games with your loved one.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior care. Flower Mound families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
5. Encourage Multiple Parts of the Brain to Work Together
Board games also enhance cognition in seniors by drawing on multiple parts of the brain to help with different processes. For example, Scrabble requires players to look for opportunities to create words. And card games like Go Fish, which can be fun to play with grandchildren, strengthen memory and recall skills. While the basic setup for board and card games varies, games of this nature tend to enhance cognition by stimulating parts of the brain responsible for:
• Memory processing
• Logic and reasoning
• Visual and auditory processing
• Attention and focus
If your senior loved one needs more mentally stimulating activities to keep his or her mind sharp, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs 24-hour care, Flower Mound, TX, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010.