Guest Author - Megan Romer
Anyone who is a regular player of games would hypothesize that board and card games would be good for memory development, but the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center recently confirmed that as fact.
Regular game-playing and puzzle-doing (as well as reading, visiting museums and other thought-provoking activities) were shown in this study to promote mental stimulation that dramatically kept memory function (as well as language function, attention span and spatial ability) performing at a higher level. The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease was shown to be reduced by 47 percent for people who did these activities the most often.
So what can you do if you are a senior who is worried about memory loss? Try forming a Scrabble or Mah-Jongg club with other seniors. If you own a computer, consider investing in the computerized version of the game you like and play against it for a little bit of time every day.
How about if you're the child or grandchild of someone who is getting older and you want to do what you can to help them preserve their memory? The obvious answer is to visit frequently and play games! Bring along the grandkids and play a silly party game, like Cranium. Hunt flea markets and garage sales for antique or vintage games that your loved one may have played as a youngster.
If your loved one is already diagnosed with Alzheimer's, try playing games to the top level of their function. Concentration is an obvious goody for practicing memory skills. If it's too difficult, select just a few cards and play with those. Scrabble, again, is good as it works on memory and other aspects of cognitive function. Trivia games, particularly "golden oldie" editions, may help stimulate memory.
Why not make fun and learning a winning combination with our seniors? We've done it for our children for many years, and there are hundreds of children's games designed to help improve memory, why doesn't a game company make some for adults? Hopefully we'll see improvements in this area soon. Until then, do what you can with what you have! Good Luck!