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June 11, 2021

5 Ways to Stimulate a Senior's Mind

Written By: Home Instead
Home Instead CAREGiver and senior smiling and working on puzzle

From a competitive game of chess to a gingerly stroll through a neighborhood park, there’s no shortage in ways to help a senior add a bit of mental stimulation to his or her daily routine. And besides feeling good sharing time with someone you love, there’s a good chance you’re helping extend their quality of life.

It might come as a ‘no-brainer’, but cognitive research now shows that older adults who regularly stimulate their brains with puzzles, games or physical exercise reduce their mental decline as they age. According to one study from the National Institute on Aging , seniors who picked up new creative hobbies such as creative writing, dancing or theater drastically improved their memory, self-esteem and stress levels.

Social activities are also a fantastic way to help seniors improve their quality of life. Group functions not only improve moods, but studies also show they provide a sense of purpose and improve cognitive function. And with COVID-19 still poising a concern indoors, online meetups through video calls or other social programs offer a fantastic alternative that still allows larger social engagements – without moving from the couch.

With so many possibilities, where do you begin? Spoiler alert: we’ve compiled a few of our favorite mentally stimulating activities you can partake in with your favorite senior during these welcomed warmer months.

  1. Checkers in the park – It may seem like a cliché movie setting, but there’s really no better way to crank the brain’s competitive gears than partaking in one of the most classic two-player games. And hey, you can always substitute for cards and chess each outing! If you need more springtime outdoor ideas, check out and complete one of our most recent Acts of Kindness.
  2. Drive-thru movie – They’ve made a comeback in recent years and are a great way to engage with your senior over a bit of nostalgia and popcorn. Who doesn’t like popcorn and a movie?
  3. State park walk – Birds chirping, sun shining and a lot of smiles to be had. While every area is different, most U.S. states and Canadian provinces offer local parks and recreational areas with walking and hiking trails for all skill levels.
  4. Share Reading Materials – Sometimes talking is overrated. A nice meet up on the porch or outside setting to read and drink your favorite beverage may be what the cognitive doctor ordered. Don’t forget to sign up for Acts of Kindness and tell others what you’re reading!
  5. Complete a puzzle – Depending on the size, puzzles can take quite some time to complete. Which is why it’s always a great brain-working activity you can always fall back on.

For more ways to get involved in your community, sign up to receive weekly Acts of Kindness on Readytocare.com!