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Playing Games with Your Brain

Chess playerDo you remember the days when you played board games with your friends and family? Back then, a “screen” was something to keep out bugs, not a portal to digital paradise. As “primitive” as a game of chess or bingo or Monopoly may seem, those neighborhood bridge tournaments were honing your thinking and memory skills, according to a recent study by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


The study showed that people in their 70s who regularly play board games and card games scored better than their non-playing peers on memory skill and thinking skill tests. Even more encouraging news: It’s not too late to take advantage of these skills. People who began playing these types of games in later years were more likely to preserve their thinking skills as they grow older.

These games require the player to think quickly, make strategic moves, and solve problems — the kinds of skills that are useful in everyday life, although not necessarily exercised every day. It’s also likely that the social interaction that comes with these non-digital games contributes to the well-being of the players.

There are other behaviors that can work to keep the brain healthy as we age, such as keeping physically active, avoiding alcohol and smoking, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet. This study regarding game-playing can help researchers determine what games may be more “potent” than others, and what activities might help people keep sharp in their old age.

South Mountain Memory Care focuses on high-quality, personalized care. The brand new building is a stand-alone memory care community, meaning that the entire building, staff, and programs are designed to serve residents with cognitive issues. To ensure person-centered care and attention, we have accommodations for up to 28 residents. The building is divided into two neighborhoods (wings), each offering 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites. South Mountain Memory Care is located in the Allentown suburb of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and it is easily accessible from the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. For more information, go to

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