4 Great Games for Older Adults


Everyone loves playing games, whether it’s a board game with your family, a video game online, your daily brain teaser or game of Sudoku, or a card game with your friends. Studies have shown that all these types of games are good for us no matter our ages. First, they’re good for stress relief but also for the social benefits of connecting with other people.

While scientists disagree on whether games for older adults can truly boost brain function, studies have shown that playing certain games will make you better at the skills required to play those games. Your ability to remember the cards in a card game is trainable, which may improve memory skills in that card game but may do nothing if you switch to playing chess. However, as you continue to play that card game, your brain is still benefitting by adapting to improve performance.

But what games are especially good for older adults? Solterra Senior Living has rounded up four great ones.

1. Trivial Pursuit

There’s a game set for everyone in this long-standing favorite. Even if you decide not to play the board game version, challenging each other for answers to questions about geography, entertainment, history, art and literature, science and nature, and sports and leisure never gets old. Just be sure you have a version that gives everyone playing a fighting chance. Since the game’s original publication in 1981, there have been many iterations, including whole versions about franchises such as James Bond, the Beatles, Doctor Who, the Friends TV Series, and Harry Potter.

2. Canasta

This is a great classic card game, and seniors may already be familiar with the rules. The most popular version includes four players, but there are variations for two to six players. Canasta was created in 1939 in Uruguay and quickly spread in the 1940s through South America (canasta is Spanish for “basket”). In the game, players attempt to make sets or “melds” of seven cards of the same rank and “go out” by playing all cards in their hands. And all you need is two standard decks of cards and three other friends.

3. Chess

Believed to originate in southern Europe in the second half of the 15th century, a game of chess evokes highbrow competition between two refined players. Who will be the Moriarty to your Sherlock? Chess theory is a wide field—you could fill a library with books about chess. Since chess is an abstract strategy game, it has long enjoyed a reputation as the ultimate brain teaser.

4. Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls Online

This is an online fantasy video game, where the world is your playground. You can roleplay as a magician or a berserker or anyone at all. And it’s not just for kids. Check out the story of Shirley Curry, an 85-year-old YouTuber affectionately known as Skyrim Grandma, who decided to try playing the game. She posts wholesome videos about her adventures and experiences on YouTube. It gets even better: you can connect with other people online as you play through Elder Scrolls Online.