There are many types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s is the most common one. Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the brain, causing memory lapses and unusual behavior. It causes disruptions in lives and eventually becomes so severe it ultimately results in death. People with any form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, may be able to slow the progression of the disease by exercising the brain. Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University, has released a list of what he considers good games for the brain.
Crossword puzzles are intellectually stimulating. They require several mental activities, including word skills, geometrical skills and logic. In addition to being easy to find, crossword puzzles are inexpensive. According to a study by Joe Verghese, a professor at Yeshiva University in New York, people who worked four or more crossword puzzles per week weren’t as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those who did only one.
Word Find Games
The brain is resilient and malleable, so people can slow down the progression of dementia and increase their cognitive ability by stimulating brain activity. One way is to do word find, or word search, games that involve hunting, comparing, spelling and logic. In addition to magazines and newspapers, there are entire books devoted to word find games.
Scrabble and Other Word Games
Scrabble requires various forms of thinking, which exercises the brain. In addition to the logic of space and placement, spelling and rational thinking, it also provides additional opportunities for socializing, since it is a game that involves multiple players. Having a Scrabble group helps alleviate loneliness and depression—side effects and frustrations of aging and feeling isolated. A daily game of Scrabble will help keep the aging mind sharp and give the person something to look forward to every day.
Trivia games like Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy and Family Feud may help the Alzheimer’s patient retain some brain function. Some of the best ones provide questions and answers from the person’s younger days. Trivia games can be played with groups of friends or online.
Other Games to Stimulate and Exercise the Brain
Many games stimulate the brain and keep it active. Strategy games, such as Sudoku, checkers and chess are excellent. Card games provide a combination of logic, planning and social skills. Even solitaire can help keep the mind focused and sharp. Video and computer games can also be stimulating brain activities to help slow down the progression of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s. According to an article on the University of Connecticut Health Center website, the most important thing to do is exercise the brain.
By Debby Mayne
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