Your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. But this doesn’t mean you have to sit around reading the dictionary to keep your mind sharp. Did you know that seniors who simply play word games tend to have better short-term memory, attentiveness, and reasoning?

The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly conducted a study of adults aged 65+ and discovered that playing word games consistently improves memory and could potentially slow the onset of dementia.

Easy word games for seniors are not only fun social activities — they’re also helpful in the fight against age-related neurodegeneration.

All-Time Favorite Word Games for Seniors

1: Boggle

In Boggle, two or more players scour a 4×4 letter board to find adjoining letters that create words of three or more letters in the allotted amount of time.

The longer the word, the more points it’s worth. Once time is up and points have been tallied, the player with the most points wins. This word game is available online as well as in a physical form for seniors who have trouble seeing screens.

Mental boost: Boggle will help boost cognitive function by testing vocabulary and promoting creative and critical thinking.

2: Wheel of Rewards

Data from 2013 showed that Wheel of Fortune’s primary viewing demographic was adults aged 65+. Based on the TV show, Wheel of Rewards is a free, single-player online guessing word game that seniors are sure to love!

Playing is easy. Simply guess a letter, and if your guess is correct, you’ll get the reward displayed on the wheel. The objective is to guess the displayed phrase before your 10 lives run out.

Mental boost: Seniors will feel like they’re participants on their favorite game show while this word game challenges their minds at the same time!

3: Words With Friends

Words With Friends is a multiplayer word game comparable to Scrabble. You can download it free from the App Store or Google Play. Players can log in and face a random person online, or they can invite friends and relatives to start a match.

The objective of the game is to use the letters in your rack to form words using the letters already on the board. Tiles and spaces on the board are tied to specific point values, and whoever has the most points at the end when the tiles run out is the winner.

Mental boost: This game is a great social tool. And it’s also an effective way for seniors to practice strategy and recall vocabulary words they don’t use on a daily basis.

4: Categories Game

If you’ve ever played Scattergories, the Categories Game is essentially the free online version of that well-loved word game. The game challenges you to quickly think of words in several different categories that begin with the same letter.

You get points for coming up with unique answers that your opponents didn’t think of. You can play against computer bots if you’re playing solo or against other people you know.

Mental boost: The Categories Game forces you to recall words that fit the given criteria. So it’s great for strengthening an aging memory.

5: New York Times Crossword

Crossword puzzle

While you do have to pay around $40 for the year for full access to this app, the New York Times Crossword contains free mini-word games that seniors will enjoy during solo downtime.

The New York Times is credited with popularizing crosswords in 1942 when it began supplementing the Sunday paper with a crossword puzzle. Since then, it’s been beloved by the paper’s devoted readers. Seniors will be delighted to know they can still do the crossword conveniently from their smartphones.

Mental boost: Crosswords are known to promote mental acuity by delaying memory loss, strengthening vocabulary, spelling skills, and alleviating the symptoms of dementia.

6: Eight Letters

Eight Letters is a single-player, timed word game that tasks you to think up as many word combinations as possible. It’s kind of like a word scrambler, except with dozens of right answers as opposed to just one!

Mental boost: Not only does the game help you recall words, but it may also teach you new ones.

Stay Sharp With Word Games

If you are an aging adult or you have a loved one experiencing the mental toll of the passing years, engage in one of these exciting word games for seniors to keep sharp! You’ll be helping your loved one stay in good cognitive shape. Even if they are not ready to talk about their hearing or memory struggles yet.