Playing mind games (the positive kind)!

Group of seniors holding up puzzle pieces to the camera

We often think about exercise as a purely physical activity, like going for a walk, or attending a personal training class. However, keeping your brain fit is just as important! Exercising your mind is one of the best activities you can do to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. Plus, it’s fun and a great way to spend a rainy day.

From quite a young age, around our late 20’s, our brains actually start decreasing in size! This decrease ramps up from the age of 60 so it’s more important that ever that you keep your brain active and firing in your later years.

Puzzles are the perfect thing to help slow down any decline. Solving puzzles activates both sides of your brain, giving it a complete workout. The left hemisphere is used for analytical and logical thinking and the right hemisphere is where creativity is born.

Puzzles also improve memory, particularly short term memory, as the brain is required to remember many things at once, activating existing brain cell pathways as well as forming new ones.

The best online puzzles and brain teasers

With today’s technology and online access, it is really easy to find puzzles and brain teasers that will keep your brain ticking over and firing on all cylinders!

As always, some online platforms are better than others. We don’t want you to waste your time and energy trying to find the best, so we’ve done it for you.

Here are our top 5 online puzzle hubs:

1. AARP

This website has a huge number of games and puzzles. Many of them are free, though you’ll have to put up with some ads before the games appear. You can pay for a membership if you want to access more games but we don’t think it’s necessary! Take me to AARP!

2. Brain Curls

Brain curls has a range of brain teasers, as well as general knowledge and trivia. The best part – it’s all completely free. However, it is an American website, so most of the trivia and memory games use U.S. references. Take me to Brain Curls!

3. Sharp Brains

This website is full of great brain workouts! It features language, logic and pattern recognition games. It even includes some optical illusion games and other visual activities that really challenge your mind. It is also completely free. Take me to Sharp Brains!

4. Improve Memory

If you’re a fan of the good old rubik’s cube, this website has an online version! It has a huge library of memory and puzzle games, all of which are free. Take me to Improve Memory!

5. Brain Den

Brain Den has puzzles, riddles and brain teasers as well as a forum to discuss puzzle clues and how to solve them. Brain Den’s chess, sudoku, and crossword puzzles are refreshed daily. Take me to Brain Den!

Find someone to play with

While the current pandemic probably means that finding your brain puzzlers online is the safest option, many games just aren’t the same online or on your own!

Your Home Care provider

Did you know that if you are receiving Home Care, you can ask a care worker to come to your house to do puzzles with you? If you don’t have any Home Care arrangements, it’s worth registering with My Aged Care and applying for a Home Care Package. Even if you don’t feel that you need one yet, the wait times are long, so it’s best to be prepared and have the help available when you do really need it.

Volunteer Groups

There are generally volunteer groups within local communities that have people who love to visit people within the community. Check out the Community Visitors Scheme to see if there is anyone in your area who can pay you a visit and help you with your brain teasers! Otherwise, get in touch with your local council for further information on your local volunteer groups.

Friends and family

Reach out to your friends and family! There is sure to be someone in your network who would love to join you in your puzzle adventures.

Here’s a free word finder to get you started! Click here!

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