If you are over age 50, there are plenty of options to keep your mind and body active and healthy as you age. One of the most effective is cognitive exercise, such as brain games like chess or crossword puzzles, which can help stave off memory loss and mental decline as you get older. Here are some more benefits of chess and other brain games for loved ones.
Help in Slowing Down Cognitive Decline
According to research, adults who frequently engage in mind games—such as chess, Scrabble, and other board games that require strategic thinking—may have better brain health as they age. In a recent study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported that playing card and board games might help slow down cognitive decline among the elderly. Participants between ages 55 and 85 played two types of strategy-based games. Those who played role-playing video games experienced increased brain activity similar to younger people after a learning task, while those who played a board game showed increased memory performance. The findings suggest that stimulating your brain with problem-solving is good for memory recall later in life.
Positive Social and Emotional Impact
One reason to play brain games with loved family members is to help them feel like they are still contributing something valuable and meaningful to society. Many loved ones feel as though there is no longer a place for them in our society and that they have nothing to contribute. Using chess and other games to mentally stimulate family members can help give them confidence and teach them that there is still value in their lives. The benefits of chess and other brain games do not stop at just contributing social value: mental stimulation can be just as important as physical activity when it comes to health.
Help Connect with Loved Ones
While chess and other brain games offer many benefits for people of all ages, one of the most exciting is that they can help us remain independent longer. Connecting with family and friends is an important part of staying engaged and healthy as you age. If you are struggling to communicate with loved ones, do not give up! Use games as a way to spark your loved one’s interest and reconnect through play.
Learning a New Skill Can Cause Positive Health and Wellness Benefits
A new study suggests that learning a new skill may provide health and wellness benefits for loved ones. A study shows people who learn a new skill, such as playing chess or using a computer, experience fewer memory problems over time than those who do not. A team of researchers has found that cognitively normal adults over age 70 who learned a new skill showed slowed memory decline compared to their peers who did not learn any skills during that period.
Research has found that chess increases our ability to focus on a single task and focus for more extended periods. Studies have shown that playing chess regularly leads to improved scores on tests involving concentration, mental flexibility, and multitasking. This is due to a number of factors—from improved memory capacity and enhanced reading skills, which will enhance a player’s understanding of a game’s complex rules, to greater creativity in problem-solving. Playing chess also helps you develop your working memory—the part of your brain responsible for problem-solving and language comprehension.