There’s just something so satisfying about solving a crossword puzzle. I have been a fan of crossword puzzles for many years, so I am well aware of the benefits associated with it. I recently got to thinking about the benefits of crossword puzzle solving for seniors. I firmly believe that crosswords hold an exceptional amount of value for aging individuals, which I will illustrate below.
These are 12 benefits of solving crossword puzzles for seniors. Crossword puzzles (especially when you solve them):
- Keep the brain fit.
- Help to reduce stress.
- Provide a form of meditation.
- Promote mindfulness.
- Keep problem-solving skills sharp.
- Provide entertainment.
- Retain and improve cognitive abilities.
- Provide an opportunity to socialize.
- Improves memory and visual perception.
- Promote the production of serotonin and dopamine.
- Ease the symptoms of dementia.
- Provide a sense of purpose.
For seniors, doing crossword puzzles regularly can be quite beneficial. If you want to enhance your quality of life and enjoy physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, solving crossword puzzles is for you. If you have ever wondered if there’s much reward in adding crossword puzzles to your list of entertainment options when you reach your senior years, rest assured that there is. Below I take a closer look at how solving crossword puzzles can add value to the lives of seniors. Read on to learn more.
The Power of Crossword Puzzle Solving for Seniors
If you are looking for a good reason to add crossword puzzles to your daily to-do list, you have come to the right place. I personally promote the use of crossword puzzles to keep the mind (or brain) healthy, fit, and active. And it’s not just the elderly that crossword puzzle solving can benefit. It can benefit anyone of any age. I’d go as far as to say that I am a self-professed ambassador of crossword puzzles for seniors.
I believe in the powerful benefits of crossword puzzles for seniors so much that I will give you not 1, but 12 reasons why you should start doing them today.
1. Crosswords keep the brain fit.
Brain fit? Why on earth does your brain need to be fit? You know the way your brain just hands you information and thinks at lightning-quick speed when you are young? Well, all of that, usually, changes when you get older. Age brings a few mental complications along with it. Alzheimer’s and dementia are common afflictions suffered by seniors. While it is hard to say that keeping the brain active will cure or fend off such diseases, it is an indisputable fact that it can keep the mind sharper for longer.
Just like every other part of your body, the brain should be kept fit and healthy. You need to ensure that you are having regular brain workouts so that you can enter your senior years mentally fit and sharp as a razor. The more you keep the brain thinking, questioning, and learning, the greater chance you have of maintaining healthy brain fitness.
2. Crosswords help to reduce stress.
If you haven’t entered your senior years yet, you might be surprised to hear that they can be stressful. That’s, unfortunately, the reality; seniors, too, deal with stress. Stress does not just turn itself off when you reach your sixties. Unfortunately, stress persists in other ways, so it’s not the stress that changes, it’s just the type of stress that does.
What do seniors have to stress about? For starters, some elderly people are struggling with health problems, some have financial issues overshadowing them, and others might even be struggling to find meaning in their changing lifestyle.
Stress needs to be alleviated, regardless of the triggers or who you are. Therefore, sitting down, breaking away from regular worries, and solving a crossword puzzle can help reduce stress levels. While doing a crossword puzzle, you can close off your mind to other stresses and just enjoy the moment.
3. Crosswords provide a form of meditation.
Meditation is beneficial in a number of ways. It involves effectively cutting yourself off from all the triggers and stressors around you, just for a time, so that you can reflect and look inward. Quietening the mind, removing yourself from the world around you, and just being quiet for a bit of reflection is hard to do nowadays – even in retirement. For those who do not want to spend their golden years sitting on a Yoga mat changing “om”, crosswords can provide a form of meditation.
4. Crosswords promote mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a way of living in the present moment and making the most of it. All too often, people are in the middle of a task, but their head and heart are not in it. By doing crosswords, you can practice and enhance your skills of being mindfully present in each situation. Being mindful is about ensuring life’s moments do not pass you by while you worry about other things. This is particularly useful for seniors who are looking for meaning in their lives.
5. Crosswords keep problem-solving skills sharp.
Just because you can effectively solve problems now, don’t expect it to always be that way. In order to keep your problem-solving skills up to scratch, you need to put in quite a lot of effort to practice problem-solving over the years. Those who work on problem-solving often tend to be better problem solvers than those who don’t.
Having to solve a problem actually changes the way you think and promotes improved brain health. If you never practice problem-solving, you can expect your ability to deduce answers, and work through problems, to diminish. It is important to practice problem-solving skills regularly as you age. Crosswords are a great way for seniors to keep their problem-solving skills a bit more active and rewarding.
6. Crosswords provide entertainment.
For some seniors, free time just means more boredom. You need to keep yourself busy and entertained if you want your life to feel fulfilling. Crossword puzzles provide the perfect opportunity for entertaining yourself on a day to day basis.
7. Retain and improve cognitive abilities.
Anyone who is looking to boost their cognitive abilities will need to keep learning. By doing so, they increase memory power and improve intelligence. For the elderly, this is particularly important as cognitive abilities tend to diminish over time. If you don’t want to lose your cognitive abilities, you need to get to work now.
There are studies available that show a person only needs to work on crossword puzzles for a total of 90 minutes per week in order to both retain and improve their cognition. With this being the case, you only need to spend time-solving crossword puzzles 1 to 3 days per week, although you will get the most benefit if you set time aside daily to work on crossword puzzle solving.
8. Provide an opportunity to socialize.
It is no secret that social lives change as we age. Social events start to dwindle, friendships change, and connections you once had through work or business networks fall by the wayside. The change in social life can be quite overwhelming for some people. Many seniors struggle with their changing social lives and so need to seek out new and meaningful connections with people who are likeminded.
The great thing about crosswords is that they can be enjoyed alone or as a group. Many retirement facilities host crossword puzzle events for seniors to use as an opportunity to socialize and meet new people.
9. Improves memory and visual perception.
When working on a crossword puzzle, you are constantly scanning the visual puzzle and memorizing words and their position on the grid. This is a great tool for seniors to use to improve their visual recognition, as well as enhance their short-term memory skills. The more crossword puzzles you solve, the more your memory recall will be used.
10. Promote the production of serotonin and dopamine.
Solving a crossword puzzle provides a boost of satisfaction. In fact, it’s a feeling of victory. That feeling, in turn, spurs on the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These are feel-good hormones that are important for fighting depression and maintaining a happy and energized feeling.
11. Ease the symptoms of dementia.
One of the symptoms of dementia is depression, which can be linked to the feeling of lack of accomplishment. This particular feeling is a difficult one to deal with, but as it turns out, solving a crossword puzzle can mitigate those feelings. Seniors, who suffer dementia, can get a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis just by setting some time aside to work on solving crossword puzzles. The more crossword puzzles solved, the greater the feeling of accomplishment and improved self-worth will be.
12. Provide a sense of purpose.
Many seniors feel as if their new stage of life lacks purpose or direction. This feeling can cause discontent and disgruntlement. By completing several crosswords a week, seniors can start feeling as if they are achieving a goal. If there is something to be done that day (solve a crossword puzzle), it gives the person a sense of purpose.
Use Crossword Puzzles to Enhance Senior Lifestyle
Crossword puzzles are not only beneficial in terms of mental health, but also in terms of entertainment. Whether you want to keep your mind sharp or simply pass a few hours of possible boredom, crossword puzzles seem to be a great solution.