Intellectual Activities for Seniors to Keep their Brains Stimulated

brain games and activities for seniors

Intellectual Activities for Seniors to Keep their Brains Stimulated

For many, retirement is something they look forward to for decades. However, when the time comes to slide into this relaxing phase of life, many older adults find themselves missing something. In their day-to-day lives, many seniors find they aren’t mentally stimulated like they once were. This can not only lead to a lowered sense of purpose, but can negatively impact their brains.

The importance of staying mentally stimulated comes down to one key factor: mental activity is directly related to your memory. Those who don’t make a point to stimulate their minds with engaging activities are more likely to experience cognitive decline than their mentally active counterparts. Thankfully, there is a wide range of intellectual activities for seniors to keep their brains stimulated.

Intellectual Activities for Seniors to Keep their Brains Stimulated

Read regularly

Reading transports you to new worlds and encourages you to explore new ideas. It’s a fun pastime for all ages, but what’s more, it is most certainly mental exercise. A variety of studies over the years have found those who read with more frequency experience improved memory retention, sharpened decision-making skills, and even reduced stress.

Though often thought of as a solitary activity, it doesn’t have to be. Stretch your mind even further by joining a book club and engaging in thoughtful conversation about your reading. This will not only deepen your understanding of your book of choice, but build stronger social bonds. Social interaction is just as important to improving cognitive function as it is to your mental health!

Practice music

One song can inspire bright joy as well as memories of times gone by. Just listening to music has been shown to raise dopamine levels, which lowers the stress hormone (cortisol) and leads to decreased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and even pain. Perhaps more impressively, music has been shown to ground seniors in the present, bring back memories, and slow cognitive decline.

Playing an instrument (or learning a new one) is a great way to inspire new connections in the brain. These connections strengthen processing and memory skills, both of which are essential to keeping you mentally healthy.

Take a dance class

It’s clear how dancing can impact one’s physical health, but did you know it can also affect your brain health? One longitudinal study (a study that follows participants over a long period of time) found that those who danced regularly had the lowest risk of developing dementia.

This could be due, in part, to the rapid-fire decisions dancers must make for each and every move. Dance moves, while they can be anticipated, can’t be memorized, as they are never exactly the same. This stimulates the brain differently than many other activities that seniors may partake in, physical or otherwise.

Brain activities for seniors

Play brain-stimulating games

While engaging your mind with any sort of game is better than nothing, the best sort of game for your mental stimulation is anything that requires strategy or problem-solving skills. These games encourage synaptic connections, which promote stronger memories and deeper cognitive skills. A few great games include:

  • Chess. Requires prolonged concentration and careful consideration of each and every move.
  • Jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles. Help with short-term memory by encouraging you to stay focused, pay attention to detail, and play with imagination.
  • Memory games. Anything that requires you to find matching pairs, create lists, or remember small differences, helps inspire short-term memory retention.


As the weather starts to warm, gardening becomes a great activity for seniors. It encourages regular, light physical activity and exposes you to the ever-helpful vitamin D. Caring for a garden creates a sense of purpose for many older adults, which boosts their self-esteem and their overall brain health. As an added bonus, it may inspire you to eat healthier!

Promoting cognitive health with home care

In the pursuit of keeping seniors cognitively engaged, the role of compassionate home care becomes increasingly significant. Home Care Powered by AUAF understands how staying intellectually active is essential to the overall health of a senior and makes a point to support our clients on that journey. Our caregivers gladly assist seniors with brain games, artistic pursuits, and other activities that help keep them intellectually stimulated.

At Home Care Powered by AUAF, we are proud to support seniors with any non-medical activities of daily living they require assistance with. From medication reminders, to personal care, to simply a listening ear every now and again, our clients can expect only the best care from our compassionate caregivers.

If you believe a caregiver would positively impact your quality of life, call us at (773) 274-9262. We would be happy to help you learn more about our program.

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