Memory Care

7 Memory-Boosting Activities For Seniors

November 11th, 2020

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Keeping our mind active is as vital as maintaining physical strength and fitness. Just as workouts help build and retain lean muscle to our body in later years, performing targeted, regular brain exercises can also increase the cognitive reserve of our brain. It will help combat memory issues and other types of mental decline.

Seniors, however, might find it challenging to keep their minds active as aging creates delicate changes in their cognitive abilities. Recalling names and numbers becomes difficult, and processing new information takes longer than before.

Fortunately, there are fun and easy memory-boosting activities and games that our senior parents or older loved ones can play and enjoy to keep their minds busy.


Puzzles are perfect activities for seniors to stimulate brain function and stretch mental muscles. This memory-boosting activity requires seniors to pay thorough attention to details and recognize intricate patterns.

Seniors can do word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, etc., to keep their brains engaged. Other benefits of playing puzzles include:

  • Improves mood
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Fun social collaboration

If your elderly parents or senior family members have poor eyesight, don’t worry. There are online puzzle games designed for seniors with physical limitations, for instance, large jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Aside from challenging the minds of the seniors, playing puzzles helps them relax as well. This exercise lowers stress levels, especially to those who reside in an assisted living facility, away from their loved ones.


Another great way to keep seniors’ minds active and engaged is through socialization. Keeping up with topics discussed in the past and remembering names help seniors steer clear from boredom and loneliness.

Even though most seniors don’t like the idea of over-socialization, these interactions can help them significantly. Spending time with family members, friends, or caregivers can boost their quality of life.

According to experts, various social interactions can positively impact mental health. In one study, seniors with minimal social interaction can result in a decline in their mental abilities.

There are many ways seniors can socialize. Here are some of them:

  • Taking free education classes in local community colleges.
  • Joining community centers.
  • Sharing activities like gardening with friends.
  • Joining a fitness group with like-minded people.

These social activities offer many benefits to seniors, like:

  • Feeling less lonely and isolated
  • Lower blood pressure and reduced stress
  • Increased physical activity
  • Promotes better brain health

The key here is to try at least one social activity every week or have a conversation with a new friend. Not only can seniors benefit from being socially active, but they would also form happier bonds with people.

The “Tray Game”

This memory game is undoubtedly a favorite among the elderly, especially in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The tray game can be played as a part of a team or solo and can be set up easily.

All you need is a tray and a few random items that you like. You will need at least twenty items, depending on the capacity of the other players.

To play this game, first, introduce the tray with random items. After that, let the seniors you are playing with recall as many things as they possibly can within a set time limit. Then, you can hide the tray and make the other players write down as many things they remember.

This memory-boosting game helps bolster confidence, particularly to those having memory problems. However, if you don’t have a tray, you can still play this game with a picture on a computer or smartphone.

Learning New Instruments

Learning how to play a new instrument can help improve an elder’s memory skills. It has been found to help seniors multitask, reduce stress, increase blood flow, and nurture relationships with others.

According to a biomedical sciences researcher at the University of Montreal, Simon Landry, as people age, their reaction times become slower. However, playing musical instruments surges and develops reaction times. In other words, playing a musical instrument will be very helpful for seniors.

Digital Brain Training

Thanks to present-day technology, there are many applications available today that can help deal with mental problems. The purpose of these apps is to develop the mental functions of the player and provide all the advantages that brain games offer.

Digital brain training games are available on most platforms, whether on a large-screen tablet, smartphone, or computer. Some of the best applications include:

  • Fit Brains Trainer
  • Cognito
  • Elevate
  • Peak
  • Personal Zen
  • Lumosity

Seniors will surely love these apps because they are highly engaging. They can take part in the brain training process in a stress-free and easy to understand manner.

What’s more, most digital brain training applications offer a progress record. With it, seniors can see how well they are improving, giving them a sense of reward and self-accomplishment.

Playing Chess

Chess is a two-player game that is highly competitive. According to studies, seniors who play chess have a lower risk of contracting mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia because the game greatly stimulates their brain.

Additionally, playing this popular board game stimulates both the creative and logical side of the brain, strengthening the player’s analysis.

Playing chess also helps develop a senior’s memory functions and problem-solving abilities since they will need to recall multiple strategies to win and succeed.

The Shopping List Game

The Shopping List Game is a fun activity that helps improve one’s memory skills and social interaction.

To play, seniors must gather some of their friends and sit in a circle. The first player will start by saying, “I went to the market and bought some chicken.”

The next player repeats the “I went to the market” line and adds an item of their own. The game continues until it goes back to the first player, who must repeat the entire list. The shopping list game can be done for several rounds until nobody can recall all the items.


Mind exercises are as essential as physical activities, especially to seniors. Their minds need to be challenged every day so that it won’t deteriorate in terms of memory and function. Thanks to these fun and quick activities, seniors can flex their mental muscles and keep their mind sharp.

Author’s bio:

Betty Aston is a seasoned family and elder care content writer. Through her writing, Betty has helped hundreds of readers takes steps towards better care for their family. When she’s not working or volunteering in nursing homes, Betty spends her time in the kitchen baking pastries with her two daughters.

CRISTA Senior Living offers Independent and Assisted Living in Shoreline and Silverdale. The Shoreline campus also offers Memory Care. We can help you prepare for transitions. Email or call us today 206-546-7565.

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