Brain Games for Dementia: Why They Help, Which Games to Play – Healthline

Dementia causes a progressive loss of a person’s cognitive abilities, which are crucial for everyday functioning.

When someone has dementia, they may have trouble with memory, thinking, reasoning, or even language. Losing these skills can make it difficult for people with dementia to perform their day-to-day activities.

While there’s no cure with regard to dementia, some treatment options can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. For example , people often discuss the idea of using memory games for dementia that can help stimulate the brain. But what does the research actually say about the role of brain stimulating online games for dementia?

In this article, we explore how brain video games might help along with cognitive functions, and the best games to play.

Games are among the many activities that can keep the human mind entertained plus engaged. Yet more importantly, games will help keep our brains stimulated. This is extremely important for older adults, especially those at risk of dementia .

For example, a 2019 study that included old adults explored the impact of 16 weeks associated with combined physical and cognitive “exergame” training. The researchers found that will there was significant improvement of working memory and executive function.

A 2019 research researched the effect of computerized cognitive coaching (in areas such as reasoning, memory, vocabulary, and attention) on the progression of mild cognitive impairment. Results of the particular study showed that the training increased the brain’s gray matter volume plus may help preserve general cognition.

So , what do these studies have to do with brain games for dementia?

When somebody has dementia, many of their intellectual skills are declining. These include some of the skills mentioned in these types of studies, such as memory and thinking. And newer research has suggested that gaming may help improve these cognitive skills, especially in people with dementia.

Recently, one review from 2020 explored research around the part of serious games regarding dementia care. During the review, the experts explored three types of video games and their benefits:

  • Board games: These can help along with cognitive features like memory space, communication, and emotional regulation.
  • Video games: Video games can be customized in order to directly target different intellectual abilities, this kind of as storage and reasoning.
  • Virtual reality games: Place provide both cognitive plus physical reinforcement, depending on the type of game.

According to the evaluation, when early stage and middle stage patients with dementia used serious online games, they were able to enhance a wide variety of cognitive abilities, including:

  • short-term memory
  • reaction time
  • problem solving
  • logical reasoning
  • communication

Still, despite a fair amount of supportive evidence for the particular role associated with games in dementia treatment, the literature is still relatively mixed. For example, a more recent analysis on the research surrounding brain video games and intellectual impairment found that mind games weren’t more effective intended for improving cognitive function than control interventions.

Ultimately, while there’s a few promise to get the function of human brain stimulating games for dementia, more research is needed.

We’ve known pertaining to decades now that online games can be a great way in order to stimulate the particular brain. However , not all games are usually created equal when it comes to which skills they can train. Therefore , here are several of the games that may support a multitude of intellectual skills, specifically for people with dementia.

Word puzzles

Term puzzles are a genre of games that will focus specifically on language. Some online games like Scrabble focus upon letter plus word arrangement, while other games like crosswords focus on word recall. However, there are a wide variety of forms that word puzzles can take, such as the recently released Wordle .

Research from 2015 suggests that playing games like crosswords puzzles, among other types associated with puzzles, might potentially lead to cognitive improvements in verbal learning, memory, speed, and more.

With this in mind, consider giving some of these classic term puzzles the try:

  • crosswords
  • phrase searches
  • anagrams
  • cryptograms
  • branded games for example Scrabble and Mad Libs

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles really are a type of puzzle game that are particularly beneficial for memory and thinking. Jigsaw puzzles can range through simple questions which are easy to piece together to more complex puzzles that require a lot more hand-eye coordination plus memory recall.

Because individuals with dementia often struggle along with cognitive abilities such as memory space recall and reasoning, jigsaw puzzles may be an easy way to assistance these skills. And the best part about these puzzles is that there’s a little something for everyone, from simple cardboard jigsaws in order to three-dimensional jigsaw sculptures plus much a lot more.

Dice video games

There’s the central component of luck in a lot of dice video games. Most rely on a random throw from the dice. This makes games like Yahtzee and Bar Dice extra fun and competitive.

Older research through 2012 shows that people with certain types associated with cognitive conditions, like dementia, may experience a decrease in numerical and calculation skills. These types of skills can be practiced with dice games.

Here are some brain-simulating dice games that you can add to your repertoire:

  • Backgammon
  • Kismet
  • Liar’s dice
  • Shut the Box
  • Yahtzee

Card games

Card games depend on different types of playing cards to play. Games can either use a standard deck of cards, like Rummy, or credit cards that are usually specific to the game, like Uno.

Card games are great for practicing skills such as reasoning, problem solving, memory, plus concentration: the same skills which are often in decline in individuals with dementia.

With a wide range of card games on the market, it can be hard in order to figure out where to start, so right here are a few to get you started:

  • matching games, for example Go Fish
  • trick-taking video games, such as Bridge
  • specific games, such as Primero
  • Solitaire variations
  • collectible online games, such as the Pokémon Trading Cards Game

Board games

Board games are the genre of games that will use a premade board, along with pieces, which are moved or placed on the table. Most board games, especially more recent ones, also use cards, dice, and other elements.

A 2019 study that discovered the benefits of playing analog video games, such because games, amongst 1, 091 participants discovered that a higher frequency associated with playing games resulted in less cognitive decrease from age 70 to age 79.

Considering the effect that panel games may have on intellectual health, here are a few suggestions to add to your collection:

  • Monopoly
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Ticket in order to Ride
  • Cranium
  • Chess

Video gaming

Movie games encompass a wide variety of electronic online games, from traditional desktop computer video games to games on newer systems including the Wii and Switch. And let’s not forget cell phone and tablet video games, that are rising in popularity among older adults especially.

Recent study supports the theory that specifically designed brain training online games may enhance cognitive functioning in old adults, specifically in places such since visual recognition, visual storage, and attention.

If you’ve never played video games before but are considering giving them a try, here are a few good choices to start with:

  • TETRIS on any platform
  • Candy Crush Saga, online or upon mobile
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch
  • Nintendo wii Sports within the Nintendo Wii (it’s great for exercise too)
  • any mobile or even app version of the particular classics, like word game titles, puzzles, card or dice games, plus board games

Games aren’t the only activities that will help support cognitive function in people with dementia. According to the experts at Dementia Australia , some other activities that can be helpful include:

  • Reading: Reading is the wonderfully enriching activity that will doesn’t just involve books. You can also read poetry, magazines, newspapers, comics, along with other printed or on the internet content.
  • Entertainment: Watching television shows or listening to radio shows are great examples of exactly how modern entertainment can assist keep the mind engaged.
  • Arts: Art comes inside many types, such as painting, drawing, and playing musical instruments. Any form of art expression is beneficial that individuals with dementia.
  • Learning: Learning new things, whether through a class, YouTube videos, podcasts, or additional mediums, is a great way to reinforce cognitive skills in older age group.

Some people along with severe dementia may struggle to do even simple tasks, so a few of the activities mentioned above may end up being difficult meant for them in order to engage in. If this is the case, think about sticking to simpler actions, like chatting and reminiscing, looking through pictures, plus hearing music.

Should you perform games by yourself or with another person, or does it matter?

While the research doesn’t say whether solo or even multiperson games are better for dementia, we do know that different types of games offer different intellectual benefits.

For instance, crossword puzzles are generally played alone and can be great designed for language plus attention. But games may also improve these abilities, and playing with others provides socialization and communication skills.

Can human brain games prevent or delay dementia if you start all of them early within life?

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) , nothing has been scientifically proven to prevent or treat dementia. However, there are certain lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk. This particular includes staying cognitively active and socializing with family and friends, both of which brain games can assist you do.

Who is most in risk associated with dementia, and is there anything that can avoid this condition?

Science displays that the biggest risk factors for dementia are two things all of us can’t control: our age and our genetics. Aging is the particular biggest risk factor just for developing dementia, and that risk doubles every 5 years starting from around age group 70.

While particular lifestyle changes can reduce your danger of dementia, no approach has been shown in order to prevent this entirely.

Are there any medical treatments that may cure dementia once it’s developed?

Based on the National Health Service (NHS) , there’s no cure for the purpose of dementia. Yet certain medications, cognitive remedies (such as cognitive stimulation therapy), plus other lifestyle therapies may help manage some of the symptoms and possibly slow down the development of the disease in certain individuals.

Dementia affects roughly 5 million adults ages 65 and older in the United States alone. And future projections show a huge increase over the next few decades.

Research suggests that brain stimulating video games and various other activities might improve cognitive functioning in older adults, as well as possibly reducing the risk of developing dementia.

But the exact role associated with brain games in dementia prevention and treatment will be unknown, plus more studies needed to determine simply how helpful these games can become.

Still, actually if we all don’t know for sure whether games can help with dementia, we carry out know one thing: that they’re a fun way to maintain the mind engaged, energetic, and entertained at any kind of age.

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