Games to Play With Your Elderly Parent: Fun With Benefits​

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man plays chess with elderly parent

Games to play with your elderly parent

We all enjoy a good game! Perhaps some the fondest family memories are over a deck of cards or a game board. And the great thing about games is that they can be played anywhere, especially at home. Therefore, our loved ones may enjoy some game time in this season of their life. Thankfully, there are various fun games to play with an elderly parent that they can both enjoy and benefit from!

As our loved ones age, it can be common to become more homebound. Sometimes, a loved one spends more time at home after committing to retirement. Or perhaps mobility issues prevent them from leaving the house much. Regardless, as we support our aging parents, we focus on keeping them comfortable and happy at home. This is a great aging-in-place strategy!

young family plays games with elderly parent

How CaN I entertain My elderly parents?

However, as a busy as we are as caregivers, sometimes we wonder how to help our loved ones have more fun. In fact, keeping an aging loved one entertained and happy is a common concern for caregivers. Of course, understandably, creating a safe and comfortable living environment is a top priority. But nurturing our loved one’s needs for fun and entertainment is a perfect next step!

A top way to entertain loved ones is actually through games. For many aging Americans, games are familiar and even nostalgic. Many seniors have fond memories and hobbies from games in their past. 

Therefore, recreating some of that gaming culture in their home could bring great joy to a loved one’s life. All from the safety and comfort of their own home too! Let’s explore a variety of fun games to play with your elderly parent that will suit their personal preferences and needs.

senior woman playing solitaire at home as a fun game to play with elderly parent

The Benefits of games for Aging adults

Not only are games a great source of entertainment, but they also have significant benefits for aging adults.

First, games can often provide social benefits to our loved ones. Whether played in-person as a group or online virtually, games usually involve connecting with other people. Many seniors struggle with isolation or loneliness in their golden years. Therefore, games could add that element of sociability your loved one is looking for!

Second, many games help activate the brain, supporting our loved one’s memory and cognitive function. Many medical professionals encourage games to continue to strengthen brain pathways or even increase physical health. Meanwhile, our loved ones are simply having a fun time!

Young woman play fun games with elderly parent at table

What are Good memory games for seniors?

A common use of games among seniors is to help support their cognition and memory. Just like working out builds muscle, our loved ones can strengthen their brains some through games! Specifically, many families use games to support the elderly with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Below is a list of various brain games for seniors:

  • Memory card game
  • Word games for seniors, like Scrabble, crossword puzzles, and word-searches
  • Chess
  • Alphabet or i-spy games that can be played out-loud
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Object classification games (placing objects in order of size, categorizing by color, etc.) These games are beneficial for loved ones with dementia.
young boy plays soccer game with elderly

Fun Exercise Games for the Elderly

Along with all the fun and cognitive benefits that come with games, there can also be great physical benefits for our loved ones! Movement is important at all ages in life. However, exercise can be a harder habit in one’s golden years. Therefore, fun exercise games could help our loved ones reach their movement goals while having fun.

One of the best strategies for including exercise games in a parent’s daily life is to consider what activities they might already enjoy (or did earlier in life). For instance, more traditional games like horseshoes may be a nostalgic activity they enjoy without realizing how much they are moving. Below are a few fun exercise games to play with your elderly parent:

  • Shuffleboard
  • Horseshoes or light ring toss
  • Croquet or bocce ball
  • Water balloon toss
  • Beanbag toss or cornhole
  • Competitions while walking (e.g., who can count the most strollers on their walk? Or i-spy games during a walk)
  • Getting to splash around during pool games with the family (like Marco Polo or red-light, green-light)
technology can offer games to play with elderly parent

Games through Technology

While getting to gather as a family and play a game is ideal, understandably, that is not always possible. From health needs or time constraints, sometimes our loved ones might have to find ways to have fun on their own. Thankfully, technology can help!

Many of our loved ones’ favorite games probably already exist on a virtual platform. For instance, classic card, word, and board games are easily downloaded to an electronic device. Of course, our parents may need some help in downloading these games and learning the interface. However, sometimes investing in a simple tablet with a few games could provide a loved one hours of fun.

In fact, there are even puzzle and game subscriptions targeted at seniors to help encourage daily brain function and fun. Many aging organizations like AARP even provide daily online games that can be played through a simple web browser.

Additionally, many of these games can be played by multiple people remotely. So, a family could be sitting at home while still engaging with grandma across the country by playing a multiplayer trivia game. This could offer our loved ones the social benefits of gaming when being nearby is not an option. 

Through technology, we can find fun games to play with your elderly parent wherever they are! 

Elderly group plays fun word games

Supporting families that play together

At Beverly’s Daughter, I know the value of fun! Likewise, I know how much you want to support a loved one’s happiness. As you explore fun games to play with your elderly parent, I am ready to help. 

First, learn about what games your loved one enjoys or maybe even activities that were a key part of their life in the past. Next, consider ways to incorporate those games into your everyday lives. I am here with creative ideas and practical solutions as you game together!

Recommended Products for Easier Care

Disclosure: We only recommend products based on our expertise in caring for aging adults. This site may contain affiliate links that (at no additional cost to you) we may earn an affiliate commission from. Read our full privacy policy here.

reading is everything

Games with Benefits

Of course, the goal of any game is to have fun! But research shows that different games can actually help our brains and bodies function better. Explore fun games to play with your elderly parent based on their needs. Are they hoping to improve their balance? Consider playing charades to increase coordination. Do they miss their bridge club? Make playing bridge together a regular routine. Games can joyfully help you and your loved one succeed.

Games Can benefit your loved one

Having fun is a key part of life for everyone. At Beverly’s Daughter, we understand that your caregiver plate is sometimes full while you support your loved one. So, sometimes having fun takes the back seat. We are here to encourage you that it is ok to make fun a priority for both yourself and your parent. Whether you need creative game ideas or movement activities that suit your aging adult, we want to help. 

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