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Can Brain Games Improve Memory?

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Minor memory issues are typical among older adults. Lost keys, forgotten appointments, and missed bill payments can cause disruption and worry among family members. Whether your loved one is at risk of developing dementia or is simply losing track of things, many seniors can benefit from playing brain games to flex their mental muscles.

Brain games come in wide varieties, and they can help keep the mind sharp and improve cognitive function. Senior Living communities dedicated to memory care can offer residents activities, games, and lifestyle opportunities to help support and reinvigorate problem-solving areas of the brain.

What Is Brain Training?

Chances are, you’ve seen apps for your phone or tablet that tout the claim that playing games can improve memory and cognitive function, but is it true?

Training the brain by playing brain games aims to enhance memory by engaging in mentally stimulating exercises. While most people immediately think of apps or video game-like designs, brain games come in many forms.

Playing games on your phone or tablet and following along with an episode of Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune can be mentally stimulating. But scientists are still skeptical of the impact of brain games on memory, and skills performed in brain games don’t necessarily translate to real-life activities.

Brain games marketed as memory enhancers may not change your recall abilities, but trying new things or challenging your brain with hobbies and education can help your brain strengthen neural connections, keeping your brain healthy.

Can Brain Games Improve Brain Health?

Studies have shown that staying mentally active throughout life can reduce the risk of developing dementia. Doing activities with other people may be more effective than just brain games themselves. It’s important to note that memory problems from normal aging are different from the impairments characteristic of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia 

Alzheimer’s has no cure or effective long-term treatments, so researchers are always seeking new methods to improve brain function to delay the onset of dementia.

Brain training, games, and cognitive exercises can’t overcome the biological component of the disease, nor can they reverse or change the damaging effects it can have on the brain. However, by engaging in memory-boosting activities and games early in life, you may be able to preserve your recall skills longer.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Brain-stimulating activities like games may lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment or age-related memory loss. However, it’s not the games that matter. Studies show that older adults living in a community surrounded by other seniors, such as Fox Trail Memory Care in Cresskill, benefit most from social interactions.

Playing games and engaging in mental activities with others improves these games’ impact on your brain.

Games to Challenge Your Brain

The type of game seniors play doesn’t matter as long as it’s challenging and enjoyable. You can always try different games or make your activities more complex to challenge your brain more.


Sudoku is a popular numbers game without math problems. The puzzle comes with some pre-filled cells, and the aim is to fill the 9×9 grid with numbers from 1 to 9 without duplications in any row, column, or region.

Completing a game of sudoku uses logic and working memory, and there’s a connection between number puzzle-solving frequency and the quality of cognitive function.


Almost everyone has completed a crossword puzzle, whether during weekend mornings over coffee or as a child. Crosswords urge you to use your knowledge of vocabulary, memory of events or people, and more to solve the clues and complete the puzzle.

Crosswords can range from easy to complex, and they can be themed or general, but no matter what you choose, using recall skills can help strengthen pathways in the brain as you work.


Scrabble is a word game you can play with others as friendly or competitively as you like. Players build words using letter tiles, supporting working memory skills, logical thinking, visual perception, strategic thinking, and pattern recognition. It’s a fun game but also a skill you can practice and improve on.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are both creative and logical, so you use both sides of your brain. They can help increase visuospatial cognition, strengthen problem-solving skills, and benefit your mental health. They’re also a fun activity to do with friends and promote social interaction.

Find Support at Fox Trail Memory Care

Declining memory can be daunting for seniors, as well as those caring for them. Memory care communities such as Fox Trail Memory Care can offer expert support and a vibrant social community with activities to help promote cognitive function and improve your loved one’s quality of life. Schedule a visit to one of our New Jersey communities to explore our amenities, meet our staff, and view our homes.

Written by adminfoxtrail

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