Positive Impact of Games on the Aging Brain: Which Ones Work and How?


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There are certain games that have the proven potential to help slow down natural, cognitive aging in older adults. Results show that some games can also slow down cognitive decline seen in patients suffering from brain disorders, provided that there is an increasing difficulty curve. A closer look at the facts should help us better understand the benefits that are to be had here.

How Do Games Help Elders with Cognitive Functions?

Specific word games, puzzle games, board games, and video games were found to be the most effective in:

  • Keeping seniors mentally active and alert.
  • Delaying both the appearance and the progress of brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in elders with hereditary vulnerability to the disease.

How Do Games Help Elders with Mental Health?

Social gaming help elders find company, socialize, and stay enjoyably active. Be it a few hours of chess or cards, it keeps both their mind and brain engaged. The games act as a reason and an activity for two or more seniors to come together and spend quality time. It should be noted that aside from the psychological and the cognitive boost that social gaming provides, the very act of socializing and communicating with others act as an active deterrent against Alzheimer’s.

What Kind of Games Help Seniors the Most?

The options are wide here, but the effectiveness of any game will depend on multiple variables such as:

  • The medical and psychological condition of the senior.
  • The goal(s) behind the game: socializing, memory care, enjoyment, general mental alertness, etc.
  • How well the gaming sessions are planned to achieve the desired goals.

Memory care is a specialized program developed to counter the progress of Alzheimer’s and slow it down by as much as possible. Alongside other physical activities and special care methods, brain stimulating games such as crossword puzzles, sudoku, anagrams, cryptograms, scrabbles, and card games are used daily as part of the process.

Unfortunately, not all senior care communities have a verified memory care program in place. A critical aspect of any effective memory care program is to incorporate a system of increasing difficulty within the games. Without that constant challenge, Alzheimer patients do not experience any benefits after reaching their plateau. For those in the vicinity, this Trumbull retirement community comes recommended for their dynamic memory care programs.

Can Video Games Help Elders with or without Dementia?

A large number of video games can stimulate the brain in all elders, but there are a more specific set of games that have the potential to be beneficial for adults with dementia. Research shows three-dimensional platformers like Bowser’s Fury, Ratchet & Clank, Crash Bandicoot 4, Super Mario 64, etc. can help adults aged 55-75 prevent, delay, and/or slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as general age-related cognitive decline in general.

A similar effect can also be expected from racing simulations. Perhaps most importantly, online versions of the classic games such as crosswords, anagrams, scrabbles, chess, etc., add an element of competition to them. Not only can they be used for monitored socializing, but the challenge also engages the human brain in a way that nothing else can.


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