Brain games for elderly mother

by Joan

My mother is 95 and is having trouble with short term memory. Are there any computer games or DVDs that can exercise her brain and keep her interested or focused on the game or learning project?

memory problems story
I am open to suggestions.

She lives with my sister and is becoming a handful because of her forgetfulness. She had hip surgery about 3 years ago after breaking her hip in a fall.

We noticed a decline after that. Do you have any suggestions?


Doug's Reply: In addition to memory-specific brain games, she should play a variety of games.

That way she won't get bored, and if the problem has more to do with concentration rather than memory other games will strengthen that.

I assume you noticed the free brain games page on my website.

You could start her out with the following games on my site:

- Lightning Librarian: My favorite for training short-term memory for the location of objects (keys, glasses, etc.). Very effective.

- Glitter Memory: Same as the old "Concentration" card game. It trains short-term memory and concentration.

- Brain Bender: Click the button corresponding to the *color* of the word not the word itself. Strengthens the connection between right brain/left brain.

- Burger Builder: Memorize what the customer wants on their burger, then correctly fill their order. Trains short-term memory and concentration.

- Memory Test: Remember the colored blocks and sound patterns, gets progressively harder. Trains short-term memory, concentration.

- Bejeweled: Trains concentration, analytical ability, visual perception.

- Mancala: African board game played with colored pebbles.
Trains concentration, analytical ability.

- Face Memory Game: These two games train short-term memory for faces.

- Mahjong Game: A fun Chinese tile game, trains short-term memory and analytical skills.

Traditional board games and puzzles can also help preserve memory and other brain skills. On my free games page have her try:

- Chinese Checkers
- Regular Checkers
- Tic Tac Toe (Deluxe)
- Crossword Puzzles
- Word Searches
- Cryptograms
- Hangman
- Kakuro Puzzles (a numbers puzzle)
- Sudoku

Since your mother is 95, I assume she is not that familiar with computers. So you might have to pull each game up on the screen and practice the mouse/keyword commands.

There are more brain games page on the AARP website. Although there are some DVD's that have brain games, I am not aware of any that are any better than playing brain games online. One exception might be PositScience brain training software. I don't know much about it, other than it is expensive (several hundred dollars).

The key to success with brain games is consistency. Your mother needs to set aside at least 15 minutes per day to play one or two games. Twice a day would be even better. Neural connections in the brain deteriorate as we age. The only way to preserve and strengthen these connections is by using them repeatedly and regularly.

Best regards,
This is information only. It is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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