Brain games for your mental upkeep
Your mental wellbeing is important for maintaining your independence, mental health and relationships. We understand it can be a little distressing when you become forgetful or seem to be struggling with making decisions. However, there are plenty of ways to help yourself with this. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, keeping your mind active is likely to reduce your risk of dementia.
So, think of your brain as a muscle; the more you feed it with exercise and knowledge, the stronger it will get. One of the ways of strengthening your brain and keeping it active is by doing brain games. From word puzzles to late-night quizzes, here are a few games to help you with your memory and wellbeing…
Love a quiz night? Whether it’s on general knowledge, films or music – it’s a beneficial way to stimulate your mind while having fun. Did you know that while answering questions you are able to acquire knowledge while working on your cognitive skills? Quizzes will allow you to recall information and facts, but at the same time learn something new when you stumble across a question you don’t know.
If you are doing a team quiz, it’s a great way to communicate and get those conversational skills flowing. Plus, it’s always a good laugh too.
Believe it or not, Sudoku has been around since the 17th century, but the nine-grid puzzle made its first UK appearance in 2004 in The Times newspaper. It’s a number game where you fill in the missing blanks with numbers 1-9, using logic and memory. Whether you are a beginner or have been doing the puzzle for some time, there are different stages available – easy, medium and hard – so something to suit everyone.
You may find that your problem-solving skills improve with Sudoku, which will ultimately help you with decision making at home and day-to-day duties. More importantly, it’s a beneficial way of learning to cope with stress and anxiety, as you may find that it can become a little unsettling.
Brain teasers are riddles that work on your problem-solving skills. They vary from pictures to questions. Here’s one to just give you an example – I can’t be bought, but I can be stolen with a glance. I’m worthless to one, but priceless to two. What am I? (find the answer at the bottom of the page)*
Brain teasers are also known for increasing your mood – the moment you complete a challenge you automatically feel a sense of happiness and accomplishment.
If you love words, you’ll enjoy doing a crossword. It’s very simple – you must fill in the blanks with words or phrases by solving clues. Crosswords are known to increase your vocabulary and even if you don’t know what the word means, just look it up in the dictionary. This will encourage you to work independently and exercise your mind by using your own initiative.
Studies also show that completing crosswords provide about a two and a half year delay in memory decline compared to those who did not do crossword puzzles – a great way of strengthening your memory.
Puzzles are a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and get your family and friends involved. More importantly, puzzles can sharpen your short-term memory. As you grow older your memory naturally declines, however, doing puzzles on a regular basis can help you.
Ever heard of visual-spatial thinking? This is just a fancy term for using your mind to look at images and see how they fit in the bigger picture – in this case where they fit in the puzzle. This will further help you with essential skills such as navigating, packing and even driving a car.
Whether you are playing in a community hall or at home, the adrenaline that comes with playing Bingo is very stimulating. The game itself is very fast-paced and encourages you to exercise your hand-eye coordination, which is an integral part of your daily life. The aim of the game is to mark the number on your card as it is called out – once all the numbers are marked you shout out “BINGO!” It’s also very sociable and allows you to interact with other people.
Checkmate! Chess requires logic and problem solving, so no wonder it’s an effective way to exercise and strengthen your mind. At first, it can be a little complicated but once you get into the flow of things, it’s very enjoyable. It’s a two-player game, so whether you are playing with a relative, friend or carer, it’s sure to provide you with companionship.
We are living in an age where technology is more accessible than ever before. Video games are available to play on different gadgets including tablets, phones and laptops. We understand that it can be quite daunting using technology, but video games are stimulating and can help enhance your skills and keep your mind sharp. From word and number games to memory puzzles and quizzes – there’s a wide variety of games available to suit your interests.
If you have difficulty with getting out and about, video games can be played indoors too. So, you can play from the comfort of your own home. Plus, it’s an excuse to let your inner child run wild.
Enjoying brain games with a live-in carer
Whether you are playing a video game, bingo or completing a crossword – it’s always nice to have someone to play with. That’s why our live-in carers at Helping Hands offer more than just a hand around the house.
Rest assured, our private carers are matched to you based on your hobbies and interests, and along with our commitment to companionship, we are also fully-regulated by the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales, so you will always be in good hands. For more information on our dementia care services, contact us to see how we can provide care at home for you and offer you the support you need.
Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church, Regional Clinical Lead on November 17, 2021