Memory Games That Stimulate Your Loved One’s Brain

7 Best Memory Care Games for Seniors With Dementia


As dementia progresses, memory can become elusive – the condition can challenge not only short-term memory, but also the ability to socialize and communicate effectively, solve problems, and reason logically.

Nevertheless, memory care games serve as a gentle exercise for the brain – offering a fun way to reconnect, engage, and stimulate cognitive functions when you witness the gradual memory fading of your loved one.

Let’s explore some of the best memory care games for seniors with dementia.

1. Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are a particularly beneficial memory care game for seniors with early-onset dementia. These word-based brain teasers not only stimulate memory, but also enhance language skills and cognitive abilities.

Crossword puzzles require you to recall words and phrases, helping your loved one exercise their memory as they fill in the blanks with words they remember. They can recognize patterns in word structure and clues, which can be helpful for daily life, such as recognizing familiar faces or places. Solving crossword puzzles involves critical thinking and problem-solving skills, thus enhancing their cognitive ability.

2. Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are not only a popular leisure activity but also an excellent dementia memory game, offering a sense of accomplishment and mental stimulation. They require intense focus and concentration to piece together various shapes and colors, helping seniors with dementia improve their ability to stay attentive and engaged.

As your loved one analyzes and visualizes how pieces fit together, they will develop better spatial awareness, exercise their cognitive ability, and maintain skills for daily tasks like dressing or navigating the environment.

Introduce a simple jigsaw puzzle with fewer, larger pieces and easily distinguishable images. Completing a jigsaw puzzle can be a shared activity – you can work together with your loved one, providing assistance when needed. This fosters social interaction and communication, which is invaluable for their overall brain health.

3. Number Puzzles

Number puzzles, such as Sudoku, challenge the brain’s numerical and logical reasoning, providing a great workout for memory and problem-solving skills. Although engaging in these games cannot slow down the cognitive decline associated with dementia, it helps to keep the mind active and alert.

Completing a number puzzle can be incredibly beneficial for memory recall, as it requires your loved one to remember previous number placements and deduce where the next numbers should go.

Successfully completing a Sudoku or another number crossword puzzle can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem and confidence, which is essential for their overall well-being.

4. Crafts and Arts

Arts and crafts are a therapeutic memory care game for seniors with dementia, allowing them to enhance their memory while exploring their creative side. These activities allow your senior loved one to express themselves emotionally, even when words may fail them, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Crafts and arts involve various sensory experiences, such as feeling different textures or working with vibrant colors. Even if your loved one has limited artistic experience, they can still find joy in expressing themselves through painting and drawing, collage making, pottery and clay work, or creating a memory journal.

5. Card and Board Games

Card and board games have been enjoyed by many generations and can also be fantastic brain games for seniors with dementia as they provide an opportunity for social interaction, cognitive stimulation, and entertainment.

Many card and board games, such as chess and checkers, require your loved one to remember rules, strategies, and previous moves, providing constant exercise of the brain. These games are typically played with others, promoting social interaction and boosting your loved one’s emotional well-being. They’re easy to learn and can be enjoyed by seniors with varying levels of cognitive function.

6. Lumosity App

Lumosity is a well-known collection of more than 60 brain training games and activities that can be beneficial for seniors with dementia. These games aim to stimulate various cognitive functions, including memory, attention, problem-solving, and more.

Dementia can lead to difficulties in maintaining attention and focus. Lumosity’s games can help your loved one practice staying attentive, which is crucial for memory retention and carrying out daily tasks. The platform adapts to the individual’s performance, allowing you to choose games that match your loved one cognitive abilities and interests. You can start with simpler games and gradually introduce more complex ones (as long as possible).

7. Video Games

When used mindfully and as part of a broader memory-training program, video games can be a valuable addition to the daily routine of seniors with dementia, providing both mental stimulation and entertainment.

Video games often require sustained attention and quick reaction, improving your loved one’s focus and concentration. In addition, most of them include various obstacles and puzzles to solve. Tackling these in-game challenges can enhance your loved one’s problem-solving skills.

Educational video games, such as those that teach history, science, or languages, provide a valuable opportunity for seniors with dementia to learn while exercising their memory and cognitive skills.

However, it’s important to opt for games suitable for your loved one’s cognitive abilities and interests. Games with complex controls or fast-paced action may be overwhelming, leading to frustration, agitation, and confusion.

At Arbor Trace dementia care facility in Ontario, Canada, we offer a wide range of memory games that exercise the minds and maintain the mental agility of our residents. Whether it’s matching cards, solving puzzles, or playing board games, these activities create space for fellow residents to connect, engage, and share moments of joy, providing a sense of community within our care facility. These activities are not just entertaining pastimes – they offer a structured daily activity that residents can look forward to.

Get in touch with our team to schedule a tour of the Arbor Trace memory care community and discover the best memory care games for your loved one with dementia.

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