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Games for Active Adults to Boost Brain Health

Exercise should be fun. Whether sculpting the body or honing that very important muscle between our ears, it’s vital to find activities that are both beneficial and enjoyable. As we age, the former remains important, but the latter can be critical to maintaining our cognitive abilities. Regular mental exercise can go a long way toward keeping the brain firing on all cylinders.

In other words, we need to use it or lose it.  

One of the best ways to enhance overall cognition and memory skills is to play a game. There are tons of brain games for seniors, including memory improvement games, that can help active adults stay sharp and focused.


The combination of strategy and creative thinking makes chess a great mental workout. It’s easy to play on your computer or play up close and personally with a friend for the added bonus of social interaction.

Mah Jongg

Mah Jongg is the perfect game for stimulating the memory gene. Download the Real MahJongg app and play on your phone, computer or iPad. The other option is to find three other enthusiasts and enjoy an afternoon or evening of friends, tiles, and concentration.

Word Games

Word searches, the daily crossword, or even a fun game of scrabble provide excellent practice for word retrieval, a skill that can become rusty as we age. Play the games in the daily newspaper or order crossword or word search books to have them on hand. Whenever the spirit moves, help yourself to a mind-expanding puzzle. Look for the seniors’ puzzle books featuring larger print. If you’d rather go virtual, download the popular Words with Friends app and play on your smartphone anytime, anywhere.

Jigsaw Puzzles

As seniors’ puzzles go, jigsaws are at the top of the list. They involve both memory and problem-solving skills for a great brain workout. They come in all shapes and sizes so you can choose the complexity level you’re comfortable with. If you are new to the genre, start small and work your way up!


Join the ranks of devotees who don’t leave home without their Sudoku books. Alternate this numbers puzzle with your word games to balance your brain efforts. Enjoy the puzzle in the daily newspaper or buy a book with puzzles designed for players of your level.  

Deal Yourself In

Card games are the ultimate form of brain exercise. Promoting focus, memory skills, and overall cognition, card games check all the boxes. You can play individual games like solitaire on the computer or organize the card game of your choice with friends. These days you can play with friends even if you are in different locations by downloading apps like Canasta Junction, Social Bridge Online Cardzmania, and TableTopia, Once the game is going, set up a zoom call or facetime call so you can enjoy the social aspects of the game as well;


Challenge your mind with any one of the games on this list, find another that inspires you, or just sit down and read a book. It doesn’t matter what type of mental exercise you choose, as long as you find an activity that gets the wheels turning. It’s the thoughts that count!