Island Senior: Keep your brain lively playing games

Posted April 18, 2022 at 11:38 am by

My friend David Bent­ley reports that he enjoys hav­ing a game of cards with friends at the Mullis Cen­ter on Mon­day after­noons. The Mullis Cen­ter is open for cards and board games on Mon­days and Wednes­days from 1 to 3 p.m. Besides the social con­vivi­al­i­ty, a study from Scot­land says that game play­ing helps keep our aging brains sub­tle and lively.

Psy­chol­o­gists at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh test­ed over a thou­sand 70-year-olds for mem­o­ry, prob­lem solv­ing, think­ing speed, and gen­er­al think­ing abil­i­ty. They repeat­ed the tests every three years until the cohort was 79 years old. The group was asked at inter­vals how often they play games such as cards, chess, bin­go, or cross­word puzzles.

This par­tic­u­lar group of 70-year-olds was born in 1936 and had been stud­ied since they were 11 years old in 1947. Study­ing them in their 70s revealed that as long as they were phys­i­cal­ly fit with­out smok­ing or drink­ing in excess peo­ple, who play games are more like­ly to stay men­tal­ly sharp lat­er in life. Fur­ther, those who increased game play­ing in their 70s were more like­ly to main­tain cer­tain think­ing skills as they got older.

I was the pri­ma­ry care­giv­er for my mom, who suf­fered from demen­tia. As her cog­ni­tive fac­ul­ties were slip­ping away, she kept her cards handy and played soli­taire con­stant­ly. I’m not a psy­chol­o­gist but it did seem to me at the time she was fight­ing to keep her brain func­tion­ing. In the end, the game was no match for her pro­gres­sive dis­ease — but that’s not to say it didn’t keep her think­ing a lit­tle clear­er a lit­tle longer.

So seniors, come on over to the Mullis Cen­ter on Mon­day or Wednes­day after­noons from 1 to 3 p.m. The games are good for your brain and the friend­ly vibe may do your soul some good as well. Bring friends or come on your own. Games avail­able are backgam­mon, chess, crib­bage, and Jen­ga. We’ve got cards and puz­zles or feel free bring your own. If you need a ride to the Mullis Cen­ter call Island Rides at 360–298-6108.

Pho­to cred­it: Peg­gy Sue McRae

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One comment...

  1. I also enjoy play­ing Mex­i­can Train at the Sr Cen­ter on Wed. afternoon–we have a good time with lots of teas­ing and laugh­ter. There is only one Mex­i­can Train set at the cen­ter so if you want to play with us or your own group we will need anoth­er set or two. It would be fun to mix and match or com­pete as teams too.

    Comment by Beth Phillips on April 19, 2022 at 3:17 pm

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