There are many aspect to our memory, and it doesn’t only involve remembering our first date or our favorite teacher’s name. In fact, we use memory every day – using short term memory to find out keys, implicit memory for repetitive tasks, and semantic memory, which makes sense of the world around us by reminding us of basic facts – “the color of the grass is green”.   That’s why losing our memory is a legitimate concern of everyone growing older. Although forgetting a thing or two is normal for anyone, seeing our brains decline can be a scary prospect. The good news is, there are ways to keep our brains sharp as long as possible – from nutrient-rich food to brain games.

You can read about some great foods to keep you healthy here. Keep reading below for some great ways to keep your brain sharp.


For the active senior looking to exercise their brain, there are many ways to do it. Here are just a few of our favorites – but you can likely find quite a few of your own.

  1. Crossword Puzzles – The original brain game remains one of the best. Many seniors are accustomed to doing this daily puzzle in their newspaper, but you can also buy books full of crosswords  – or even find an online app to deliver the daily crossword to a tablet or laptop. These types of puzzles are effective at keeping the brain sharp because they challenge multiple types of memory, as well as encouraging critical thinking.
  2. Rummy – Playing cards with friends is becoming a lost art, but a rousing game of rummy is still a great way to train your brain. You can play with two or more people. and it won’t be long before your brain is working hard – remembering rules, which cards to play, and even which cards your opponents have picked up.  For those in assisted living, a card game is a great way to socialize, make friends and stay sharp.
  3. Simon – Many seniors will remember this toy from when their children were growing up. Although it has been around for decades, Simon remains one of the best brain games ever created. These colorful disc features four brightly colored panels, which light up in random sequences. The person playing must simply replay the same sequence that Simon played.  The rules are simple, but the game can get quite complex as someone learns to master it.
  4. Memory – The benefit of the game is given away right in its name. The game can be played with traditional playing cards, or with specially made cards with pictures, landscapes, or symbols. With all the cards placed upside down in a grid, cards are turned over one at a time to try to find matches. Players must form mental images of where specific cards are located, and of all the brain games, this one exercises short term memory significantly.
  5. Blackjack -For those who enjoy casinos and a little light gambling. blackjack is a perennial favorite. Players must understand rules and odds, as well as keeping an awareness of the hands of those around them. With only a few cars in your hand, your brain gets a real workout. If you are in an adult living facility or assisted living residence, playing blackjack for pennies or peanuts is just as fun!

No matter what type of mental exercise or brain games you choose to keep your mind sharp, the important thing is to get started! At A Banyan Residence. we are happy to work with family members to ensure that their loved ones are getting the mental stimulation and activity that they require.