Dementia causes a progressive loss of a person’s cognitive abilities, which are crucial for everyday functioning.

People with dementia may have trouble with memory, thinking, and even language. Losing these skills can make it difficult for people with dementia to perform their day-to-day activities.

There is no cure for dementia, but some treatment options can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. People often discuss the idea of using memory games to help with dementia. What does the research say about the role of brain stimulating games for dementia?

We explore how brain games can help with cognitive functions and the best games to play.

Games are among the many activities that can keep the human mind entertained and engaged. But more importantly, games can help keep our brains stimulated. This is extremely important for older adults, especially those at risk of dementia.

For example, a 2019 study that included older adults explored the impact of 16 weeks of combined physical and cognitive “exergame” training. The researchers found that there was significant improvement of working memory and executive function.

A 2019 study researched the effect of computerized cognitive training (in areas such as reasoning, memory, language, and attention) on the progression of mild cognitive impairment. Results of the study showed that the training increased the brain’s gray matter volume and may help preserve general cognition.

What do these studies have to do with brain games?

Many of the cognitive skills of people with dementia are declining. These include some of the skills mentioned in the studies. Research shows that gaming can improve cognitive skills in people with dementia.

Recently, one review from 2020 explored research on the role of serious games for dementia care. During the review, the researchers explored three types of games and their benefits:

  • Board games: These can help with cognitive functions such as memory, Communication., and emotional regulation.
  • Video games: Video games can be customized to directly target different cognitive abilities, such as memory and reasoning.
  • Virtual reality games: These can provide both cognitive and physical reinforcement, depending on the type of game.

Patients with dementia who used serious games were able to improve a wide variety of cognitive abilities.

  • short-term memory
  • Reaction time.
  • Problem solving
  • logical reasoning
  • Communication.

Still, despite a fair amount of supportive evidence for the role of games in dementia care, the literature is still relatively mixed. For example, a more recent analysis on the research surrounding brain games and cognitive impairment found that brain games weren’t more effective for improving cognitive function than control interventions.

There is some promise for the use of brain stimulating games for dementia, but more research is needed.

We have known for decades that games can be a great way to relax. Some games are better at training certain skills than others. Some of the games may support a wide variety of cognitive skills for people with dementia.

Word puzzles

Word puzzles are a genre of games that focus specifically on language. Some games like Scrabble focus on letter and word arrangement, while other games like There are crosswords. focus on word recall. However, there are a wide variety of forms that word puzzles can take, such as the recently released Wordle.

Research from 2015 suggests that playing games like There are crosswords. puzzles, among other types of puzzles, may potentially lead to cognitive improvements in verbal learning, memory, speed, and more.

Consider giving some of the classic word puzzles a try.

  • There are crosswords.
  • Word searches.
  • Anagrams.
  • There are some words that are called lexicographers.
  • Scrabble and Mad Libs are games that are branded.

Jigsaw puzzles

A type of puzzle game called jigsaw puzzles are good for memory and reasoning. Simple puzzles that are easy to piece together can be used in a jigsaw puzzle, but more complex puzzles require more coordination and memory recall.

jigsaw puzzles may be an easy way to support cognitive skills that people with dementia often struggle with. There are a lot of puzzles for everyone, from simple cardboard jigsaws to three-dimensional jigsaw sculptures.

Dice games

A lot of dice games have a central component of luck. Most people rely on a random throw of dice. This makes games like Bar Dice and It\’s a word that means “yahtzee.” more competitive.

Older research from 2012 suggests that people with certain types of cognitive conditions, such as dementia, may experience a decrease in numerical and calculation skills. These skills can be practiced with dice games.

There are some brain-simulating dice games that you can play.

  • Backgammon.
  • Kismet.
  • “Liar’s dice.”
  • Shut the box.
  • It\’s a word that means “yahtzee.”

Card games

Different types of playing cards are used in card games. A standard deck of cards, like Rummy, can be used in a card game.

Card games are great for practicing skills such as reasoning, Problem solving, memory, and concentration: the same skills which are often in decline in individuals with dementia.

It can be hard to figure out where to start with a wide variety of card games.

  • Go Fish is a matching game.
  • Bridge is a trick-taking game.
  • Specific games, such as Uno.
  • There are variations of Solitaire.
  • The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a collectible game.

Board games

A board game is a game that uses a premade board and pieces that are moved or placed on it. Most board games use cards, dice, and other elements.

A 2019 study that explored the benefits of playing analog games, such as board games, among 1,091 participants found that a higher frequency of playing games resulted in less cognitive decline from age 70 to age 79.

There are a few suggestions to add to your collection considering the impact that board games may have on cognitive health.

  • The game Monopoly.
  • The pursuit is interesting.
  • The ticket to ride is for you.
  • Cranium.
  • Chess is a board game.

Video games

Video games encompass a wide variety of electronic games, from traditional desktop computer games to games on newer systems like the Wii and Switch. And let’s not forget cell phone and tablet games, which are rising in popularity among older adults especially.

Recent research supports the theory that specifically designed brain training games may enhance cognitive functioning in older adults, especially in areas such as visual recognition, visual memory, and attention.

If you are considering playing video games for the first time, here are some good options.

  • TETRIS is available on any platform.
  • Candy crush Saga is available online or on mobile.
  • Animal Crossing: New Perspectives is on the Nintendo Switch.
  • The Wii is great for exercise.
  • There are any version of the classics, like word games, puzzles, card or dice games, and board games.

Free games to play on your cell phone

Everyone can appreciate a little free stuff. You can try a few of our favorite games for free today.

Games aren’t the only activities that can help support cognitive function in people with dementia. According to the experts at Dementia Australia, other activities that can be helpful include:

  • Reading: Reading is a wonderfully enriching activity that doesn’t just involve books. You can also read poetry, magazines, newspapers, comics, and other printed or online content.
  • Entertainment: Watching television shows or listening to radio shows are great examples of how modern entertainment can help keep the brain engaged.
  • Arts: Art comes in many forms, such as painting, drawing, and playing musical instruments. Any form of art expression is beneficial in people with dementia.
  • Learning: Learning new things, whether through a class, YouTube videos, podcasts, or other mediums, is a great way to reinforce cognitive skills in older age.

Some people with severe dementia may be hard to engage in activities because they may struggle to do simple tasks. If this is the case, you should stick to simpler activities, like chatting and reminiscing, and listening to music.

Should you play games by yourself or with another person, or does it matter?

There is no conclusive evidence that solo or multiperson games are better for dementia, but we know that different types of games offer different cognitive benefits.

For example, crossword puzzles are generally played alone and can be great for language and attention. But board games can also enhance these skills, and playing with others provides socialization and Communication. skills.

Can brain games prevent or delay dementia if you start them early in life?

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), nothing has been scientifically proven to prevent or treat dementia. However, there are certain lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk. This includes staying cognitively active and socializing with family and friends, both of which brain games can help you do.

Who is most at risk of dementia, and is there anything that can prevent this condition?

Science shows that the biggest risk factors for dementia are two things we can’t control: our age and our genetics. Aging is the biggest risk factor for developing dementia, and that risk doubles every 5 years starting at around age 70.

While certain lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of dementia, no approach has been shown to prevent it entirely.

Are there any medical treatments that can cure dementia once it’s developed?

According to the National Health Service (NHS), there’s no cure for dementia. But certain medications, cognitive treatments (such as cognitive stimulation therapy), and other lifestyle therapies may help manage some of the symptoms and possibly slow down the progression of the disease in certain people.

Dementia affects roughly 5 million adults ages 65 and older in the United States alone. And future projections show a huge increase over the next few decades.

Research shows that brain stimulating games and other activities may improve cognitive functioning in older adults.

More research is needed to determine how helpful brain games can be in the prevention and treatment of dementia.

Still, even if we don’t know for sure whether games can help with dementia, we do know one thing: that they’re a fun way to keep the brain engaged, active, and entertained at any age.