Island Senior: Keep your brain lively playing games
Posted April 18, 2022 at 11:38 am by Peggy Sue McRae
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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