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Professor Plum in the Library with a Rope!

February 1, 2020

Dust off that game of Clue and dig out those playing cards, as new research is showing that playing board games and cards may hold off cognitive decline in older adults. It seems that games can keep our minds agile and share. These include brain training apps that may prevent mild cognition impairment to 3D video games that may reverse age-related mental decline. But, it’s not just computer games that help, the research found that non-digital games such as cards, board games, and crossword puzzles help as well. The researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom first assessed the participants' cognitive function when they were 11 years old, and then at ages 70, 73, 76, and 79 using 14 standardized cognitive tests. They then asked the participants how often they played board games, cards, chess, bingo, or crosswords at ages 70 and 76. The analysis found that people who played more games in their 70s were more likely to maintain healthy cognitive function in their later years. Specifically, those who played more analog games in their 70s experienced a less relative cognitive decline from the age of 11 until 70, and less cognitive decline between 70 and 79. The study authors believe this study should encourage older adults to start playing games again. And it should be an encouragement to staff in senior communities, that games do seem to slow down cognitive decline. They now want to learn which games are more impactful than others. It sounds like fun. I think I’ll grab my game of Sequence or get a game of 500 or Bridge going!