Senior citizens always seem to be looking for ways to stay younger, healthier, and sharper. A trend that has emerged is that of seniors clambering for the latest Sudoku puzzle for “mental health reasons,” and one has to wonder why. What does Sudoku offer seniors that other games and puzzles do not? What are the benefits of playing Sudoku for seniors?
There is an interesting article posted on Healthline.com that states that playing Sudoku may help keep your brain 10 years younger. Now that is an attractive prospect, isn’t it? Believe it or not, that is only one reason seniors love a good game of Sudoku.
With so many seniors currently enjoying Sudoku, it is hard to overlook the potential benefits and the reasons why. Whether you are a senior yourself or looking for something to add value to the life of a senior loved one, Sudoku could be the answer. In fact, for many, it already is.
Let’s explore the reasons why Sudoku is so popular among seniors in the 10 points below.
These are 10 reasons why Sudoku is popular among seniors:
1. Playing Sudoku Keeps the Mind Active (and exercised).
Mental quickness, attention, focus, and concentration are all areas of the mind that generally decline with age. This is not particularly easy to avoid (or even possible to avoid), but by ignoring the situation, the decline stands to be a lot quicker.
Think of someone who is flexible and fit aging – they tend to handle the physical aging process easier than someone who has never exercised – and it’s much the same when it comes to the brain. To ensure that the decline does not happen too quickly or become debilitating, it is vital to challenge and exercise the brain in these particular areas. How does one do that? The answer is to put some time and effort into being mentally fit. Exercising the mind is quite important, and highly-engaging puzzles such as Sudoku are a great way of doing just that. It is not just a myth; an active mind truly is a healthy mind.
2. Playing Sudoku Regularly Promotes Effective Problem-Solving Skills.
Practicing problem-solving is a crucial part of the process, and this is where Sudoku comes in. Sudoku puzzles require problem-solving skills to be continuously used in order for the player to progress to the next level of difficulty. The more you problem solve, the better you get at it.
3. Playing Sudoku Regularly Enhances “Sharp” Mindedness.
While the effects of aging cannot be stopped, the negative elements can be minimized to some degree – if you are willing to put in the effort. If a person keeps their mind sharp and active, there is a higher chance of retaining that sharp minded wit for longer. Even someone who is not aging can benefit from a sharp mind by challenging and developing their mental capacity with puzzles and mind games.
4. Sudoku Provides a Sense of Accomplishment or Achievement.
After retirement, individuals often struggle to settle into their new lifestyle of minimal commitments and responsibilities. From being purpose driven and busy all day to having no real daily work chores can be quite a change. In fact, for some, it can be quite a shock to the system. Most retired individuals find that they have excess free time, and lack a sense of achievement that is usually provided within a busy working environment.
As people age and progress to the next stage of life, they need to find activities, hobbies, and pastimes to keep their motivation levels healthy and to achieve that sense of accomplishment that they obtained from other areas of life previously. For many, Sudoku provides the perfect way to pass the time, feel accomplished, and give their brain a great workout at the same time. Just because a person stops working doesn’t mean that they should stop working towards goals and achievements.
5. Playing Sudoku Improves Short Term Memory.
Unfortunately, age brings memory lapses, and it can be quite uncomfortable for those experiencing it. Young people tend to remember more easily what happened a few hours or days ago, whereas seniors struggle with this. The only way to ensure that short term memory problems do not progress quickly is to encourage the brain to exercise the skill.
Playing Sudoku promotes short-term memory ability as one needs to keep track of which numbers are present and which are needed on the grid. There is a saying that goes “use or lose it,” and that is very true when it comes to the short term memory ability of the aging mind. Sudoku provides seniors with the opportunity to practice short term memory recall, and that’s quite important during the process of aging.
6. Playing Sudoku Promotes Quick Thinking
7. Enhances confident decision-making.
It is natural for older adults to experience a decline in self-esteem. A drop in self-esteem is often accompanied by a lack of confidence. As some seniors enter a whole new phase of life, it’s natural for them to start to doubt themselves and their decisions. Some remedy the problem with puzzles, socializing, and physical activity, which keeps confidence levels healthy and self-esteem issues at bay.
To solve Sudoku puzzles, a senior must be able to confidently and definitively make decisions about where to place numbers. Without this confidence, solving the problem would not be possible. The only way to ensure that you retain confidence throughout the aging process is to practice it and put it to good use on an ongoing basis. Sudoku is perfect for doing just that.
8. Sudoku is a Fun, Challenging Pastime.
Most seniors find themselves lavished with free time. Just having a pastime to while away the hours is not enough. No one would enjoy a life that seems aimless and boring.
Sudoku provides the opportunity for more fun and excitement to be incorporated into the next phase of life. It is a game that challenges the mind, but it is absolutely enjoyable too. Retirement villages, old age homes, and seniors clubs can and do host Sudoku competitions and social challenges for a bit of added fun and excitement. Of course, it is not just a game for seniors. Children, teens, adults, and seniors alike get addicted to the game. The reason for that is because it is fun!
9. Sudoku Slows Down the Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Attention, memory, thinking, and reasoning are all skills that are challenged when Alzheimer’s disease kicks in. There is, however, evidence that suggests doing cognitively stimulating exercises can help boost these skills. Sudoku is a highly engaging puzzle game that stimulates the mind cognitively. It increases logical thinking, improves memory, boosts concentration levels, and helps the brain make new connections too.
10. Sudoku Can be Enjoyed as a Family (quality time).
Most seniors place a great deal of value on spending quality time with family members. While you can’t take a senior family member on a hike or for a day of rollercoaster rides, you can arrange fun lunches and dinners with Sudoku challenges as entertainment. As Sudoku is available in a variety of difficulty levels, both young and old family members can get involved.
All things considered
Sudoku is not just a strategic method of keeping senior minds healthy and active. It is also a great way to enjoy some quality time with family and friends too.