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4 Ways Playing Cards Boosts Mental Acuity in Older Adults

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Card games might seem like nothing more than a relaxing pastime seniors can enjoy on an afternoon with their friends. However, the skills required to play these games help seniors maintain a higher level of cognitive health. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Warren, discusses 4 ways playing cards can boost a senior’s mental wellbeing.

1. Encourages Social Stimulation

Though some card games can be played alone, the vast majority require interacting with others. A recent study funded by the National Research Council has once again shown just how important social engagement is to a senior’s cognitive health. Regularly interacting with others stimulates multiple parts of the brain and helps form new neural pathways. This type of stimulation has also been shown to reduce a senior’s risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related disorders. 

2. Challenges Short-Term Memory

The short-term memory must be constantly tested to keep the long-term memory healthy. Being competitive at card games almost always relies on short-term memories because players need to keep up with an evolving deck, unique rules, and countless strategies at the same time. These types of games are an excellent alternative to other habits such as watching TV. Passively absorbing information from the television does very little to challenge the short-term or long-term memory. 

3. Uses Multiple Areas of the Brain

Some of the most exciting card games require players to pick up and interpret complex signals from others at the table. This unique type of reasoning activates multiple areas of the brain at the same time and can even help the body produce additional brain cells. Games such as poker and rummy encourage players to carefully watch one another so they can evaluate changes to their mannerisms and body language. 

4. Incorporates Math and Reasoning

Few hobbies rely as heavily on mathematics as card games. Quickly processing math problems is a vital component of maintaining cognitive health, which is why many of the leading brain-boosting games utilize math problems to stimulate and challenge seniors. While playing card games, seniors must quickly solve simple calculations as well as process complex statistics and theories.

If your senior loved one needs more mentally stimulating activities to help keep his or her mind sharp, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. In addition to the Alzheimer’s and dementia care Warren seniors count on, we also offer comprehensive stroke and Parkinson’s care. For more information on our elderly care services, please call 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.