A little friendly competition in the way of card games with others could be the key to keeping the mind sharp as we age, according to various studies linking playing cards and other games with better memory and brain function, and reduced risk of dementia.
While solo games like solitaire are good for the mind, too, playing with others has added benefits that come from social connections.
To reap the brain benefits of card games, seniors can play with friends and family, get in on games at the local community or senior centres, or play cards with their caregiver. We can tell you that our caregivers are always up for a friendly game!
Here are some competitive card games to play to keep the mind sharp.
This four-person card game is the perfect example of how playing cards can keep the brain sharp. It requires memory and sequencing and helps improve skills like reasoning, logic, and concentration. The social aspect is the icing on the cake.
Poker’s not just for card sharks! Anyone can enjoy this competitive card game for 2 to 7 people. You don’t need to play for big money; you can play for pennies or snacks! Hosting a poker night is great fun and your caregiver can help. Make it a low-key game just between the two of you or have your caregiver help you host friends or family.
Card games don’t need to be complex to stimulate the mind. A game of Go Fish is a favorite with many of our clients and one that most people already know how to play. This classic card game isn’t just for seniors; it’s great for all ages! Play with your grandkids or friends, or challenge your caregiver to a game or two to help improve your memory and reduce stress.
This classic card game is easy to learn, but requires concentration and memory. Classic gin rummy, or “gin” for short, is typically played with two people, though different variations of the game can have more players.
Gather 4 friends or family members or join a game at the local seniors centre for a game of Euchre. It takes a little time to learn the rules, but once you get the hang of it, you’re sure to love this competitive game. It involves strategizing and concentration, which is as beneficial for your brain as it is exciting!
Playing cards is a wonderful way to sharpen memory and keep boredom and depression at bay. Card games can be enjoyed with a caregiver by seniors who don’t have friends or family to play with. They’re also a wonderful way to connect with others and build your social circle if you join a club or the odd game at the local community centre or library.
Article Resources Cognitive Activity and Onset Age of Incident Alzheimer Disease Dementia. Wilson RS, Wang T, Yu L, Grodstein F, Bennett DA, Boyle PA. https://n.neurology.org/content/early/2021/07/14/WNL.0000000000012388 Playing Bridge May Boost Immunity. Kristin Leutwyler. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/playing-bridge-may-boost/ Try These Activities with Loved Ones Affected by Memory Changes. Cleveland Clinic, HealthyBrains.org. https://healthybrains.org/try-activities-loved-ones-affected-memory-changes/