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Exercising your mind over the holidays

Cognitive exercises can help improve seniors' memory

It’s no secret exercise is essential for the body, but it can be easy to overlook exercise for the mind. As seniors age, some experience cognitive decline, impacting their ability to enjoy activities and maintain an active lifestyle. Mental decline is expected as people age, but there are things that seniors can do to help keep their minds sharp. Some memory exercises for seniors to improve their skills include puzzles and games like chess.

Engaging in cognitive exercises and brain activities regularly can be a sustainable way to stay sharp. Luckily, many cognitive exercises for seniors that can be used to improve memory are fun and can also be a good way to socialize - especially when you're all together for the holidays. Buckner Retirement Services offers memory care services to help seniors exercise their minds and achieve wellness.

The importance of cognitive stimulation for seniors

Memory plays a crucial role in the lives of seniors during retirement. It helps them remember important details, such as their bank accounts, medications and appointment dates and times. Memory also enhances an individual’s ability to generate and retrieve memories of meaningful moments in life that they have experienced or shared with others. Engaging in cognitive exercises for seniors to improve their memory on a regular basis can help strengthen problem-solving skills and sharpen mental focus.

A strong memory can also promote feelings of independence. Many seniors with cognitive issues feel overwhelmed when presented with tasks that they can no longer accomplish due to their decline in memory. Memory exercises for seniors can help them feel more confident and independent, as it allows them to handle their own affairs.

Rather than just sitting and watching TV, engaging in memory games and exercises is a more fruitful use of time that can provide multiple benefits. It can also be a fun pastime for seniors to do with friends and family.

Fun exercises to help improve memory for all ages

These exercises for seniors to improve their memory and recall can be quick, fun ways to stay sharp - and perfect for entertaining the whole family this Christmas season.


Chess has been a popular mind exercise game for centuries. It is also an excellent hobby for seniors to keep their minds sharp. Some think chess is complicated or complex to pick up, but it is more accessible than you might think. Seniors can even play online and get guided instructions if they are new to the game. Chess requires creative thinking and strategy, so it is one of the most effective brain games for seniors. Plus, chess is a social game and social interaction is another important part of overall brain health.

Play a game of recall with the family

The game of recall is a brain exercise that is completely free and requires no skill. Family and friends gather around, tell stories and try to recall specific details about past events. This could be identifying particular people, locations, outfits or any random detail. Trying to remember details from past experiences is a good workout for the brain and can also be one of the most fun cognitive activities for elderly individuals. Consistent playing may even improve memory, and it can boost a senior’s confidence when they can recall details from the past.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are another affordable and simple way to exercise the mind and are one of the seniors’ most versatile mental activities. They require strategy, critical thinking and problem-solving. Some experts recommend that seniors work on the same jigsaw puzzle repeatedly. The brain will recognize the pattern and try to remember how to put the pieces together, which can be a good memory exercise. Jigsaw puzzles are also convenient because they come in varying levels of complexity and can take just a few minutes or several hours.

Arts and crafts

Brain activities are all about stimulating the mind, which is exactly what seniors can do through arts and crafts. Creating art and crafting works on both sides of the brain and is a good way to create something fun and even social. A few examples of crafts for seniors include:
    •    Knitting
    •    Crocheting
    •    Origami
    •    Painting
    •    Beading
    •    Ornamenting
    •    Scrapbooking

When seniors take a break from a craft and return to it, their memory will try to remember where they left off. Arts and crafts come in all varieties, and there is a craft for every skill level.

Digital memory games

Digital games often get a bad reputation for rotting the mind. However, the right games can be very beneficial for all ages in stimulating the brain and can be one of the best cognitive activities for elderly individuals. There are hundreds of brain games and memory games. Some are specifically designed for seniors and can be played on any connected device. Seniors can play at their leisure and enjoy the confidence boost of advancing through the game levels. Digital memory games are excellent cognitive exercises for seniors.

Find out how Buckner senior living communities can help maintain a healthy lifestyle for a senior in your life.

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