Fun Games for Senior Citizens

By Michael Baker
Games, memories, thinking
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Games give senior citizens a chance to challenge their memories, sharpen their critical thinking and get physical exercise. A daily brain workout also has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. While senior citizens no doubt enjoy the dominoes or card games they have played for decades, they'll also enjoy adding some new games to their repertoires.

Specialty Games

DVD and TV trivia games.
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Explore the numerous games designed especially with senior citizens in mind, challenging memories and drawing on experiences that give senior players a leg up over their younger counterparts. The popular DVD movie trivia game Scene It?, for example, produces a version featuring only classic movies. Another board game, the TDC Games-produced Senior Moments, turns common tasks for senior citizens, like remembering a grocery list or a memorizing a list of names, into a challenging game. Life Stories gives senior citizens a chance to reminisce about childhood experiences. The Tiger-produced Noteability is a Name That Tune-based game that leans largely toward classics from the early 1900s to the 1960s. It also features an easy-to-learn toy piano for players to use, adding a little dexterity challenge to the game

Innovate Classics

classic games, Bingo, a new twist
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Turn a classic game on its side to make it a special experience for senior citizens. For example, most senior citizen centers offer some form of Bingo. Twist that game around by making into a musical challenge as well. Put together 60 classic, easily recognizable songs--think Irving Berlin standards or perhaps holiday songs--and make Bingo cards using those song titles in lieu of numbers. Play Bingo by playing each song for about 30 seconds and have players mark their cards accordingly, following the usual rules for Bingo. Sprucing up a classic game adds an extra layer of fun while not forcing senior citizen players to learn complicated new sets of rules.

Embrace Technology

Video games
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Video games, long the province of children, teens and 20-somethings, are gaining new ground among senior citizens players, particularly with the introduction of Nintendo's movement-based Wii console. The American Association of Retired Persons now publishes a seasonal review of "video games for grownups." A number of senior citizen centers have even conducted Wii tournaments. The easily learned movements required to play provide a dose of moderate physical activity. Lean toward activity games like Wii Sports rather than drawn out strategy games or shoot ers, particularly if the players are reluctant to try the technology. The players might find joy in participating in games like tennis, bowing or a baseball home run derby, all of which might be physically prohibitive for them to play outside of a virtual world.

About the Author

Michael Baker has worked as a full-time journalist since 2002 and currently serves as editor for several travel-industry trade publications in New York. He previously was a business reporter for "The Press of Atlantic City" in New Jersey and "The [Brazoria County] Facts" in Freeport, Texas. Baker holds a Master of Science in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.