How Seniors Can Improve Their Cognitive Health Through Card Games

Studies on cognitive health note that two out of three Americans experience some level of cognitive impairment at around 70 years old. Furthermore, the lifetime risk for dementia — an illness that makes it more challenging to engage in day-to-day activities — is up to 37% in women and 24% in men when they hit their golden years. Older adults and seniors must engage in cognitive activities to combat these risks.

One of the best ways to prevent cognitive conditions in seniors is to engage them in mentally stimulating activities. Research shows that activities that keep the brain active, such as writing letters and playing card games or puzzles, may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia by up to five years. Through constant engagement, elders can better enjoy their final years with fewer worries. Here are some ways seniors can improve their cognitive health through card games:

Gaming enhances mental sharpness


Old age may result in slower brain processing, which can impair even basic skills like math. Card games like poker, bridge, and mahjong are great for engaging these high mental functions, as players need to exercise their logic, observation, problem-solving, and decision-making skills within a short time to make the best move. These games also motivate seniors to concentrate as they get invested in winning, which repeatedly activates their brain’s reward center and spurs them to keep playing. Through gaming, the elderly can improve their existing abilities and enhance memory and sequencing, further stimulating and strengthening their minds.

Gaming improves emotional intelligence


Aging adults may face greater personal struggles, affecting their emotional state. Poor emotional intelligence makes it difficult for seniors to stay motivated and feel stressed more often, which can affect their overall health. They need to learn how to manage themselves when things don’t go their way, and this is something many games can teach. Poker teaches mental skills including how to handle emotions, allowing seniors to practice handling losses and stress. In turn, this builds up mental toughness, which can help them get through difficult times in life. While games are not a replacement for professional counseling, these types of games can teach them to face problems independently and handle their feelings with grace.

Gaming opens up social interaction


Social interaction is a human need, especially for people in the older population. Loneliness and social isolation are known to be risk factors for a variety of conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, functional decline, depression, and dementia. Playing any card games can be a great way to combat these issues, providing seniors the opportunity to not only engage their minds but also interact and socialize with others. The elderly get to talk about their lives while having fun, encouraging them to keep joining these wellness activities, which are extremely beneficial for their brain health. In addition, seniors who go out of their way to play with their new-found friends may benefit from additional physical activity, contributing to the betterment of their well-being.

Through card games, seniors can enjoy several benefits that improve their cognitive health. At the same time, they also slow down cognitive decline, as with dementia and depression. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve your health, you can check our website for more resources.

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