When I was a kid, I used to sit with my grandma in the afternoons after school and try to complete a word search. My grandma would give me different colored pencils to use, and every day there seemed to be a new word search puzzle to work on. She would sit with me in companionable silence, completing one herself. I believe it was the very reason I have taken to words so much. I love word puzzles, I love to read, and I love to write.
What I have never really given much thought to, is how much those word search puzzles were adding to my grandma’s quality of life at the time.
Seniors are often looking for ways to keep their minds active and young. Just like any other part of the body, if it is neglected, it will become weak and tire easily. One of the biggest benefits of doing word searches and other puzzles is to keep the mind young. Of course, there are a whole host of other benefits, some of which are listed below for your perusal.
15 ways seniors can benefit from doing Word Search Puzzles.
1. Word searches provide a good brain workout.
Yup, when a person retires, everything changes. Suddenly there’s no job to go to, far fewer things to think about and figure out, and that means that your brain won’t be getting quite the amount of exercise it is used to. The problem with this is that if you don’t keep your mind active, it can start to deteriorate. By doing puzzles, such as word searches, you can ensure that this doesn’t happen.
2. Doing word searches helps to retain and enhance cognitive skills.
As children, it is important for us to develop good cognitive skills. These are skills that help us to think, read, remember (recall), learn, and pay attention effectively. As we get older, these skills develop, but in our senior years, they can deteriorate. The only way to keep these skills and enhance them in the senior years is to put them into practice as often as possible. Puzzles such as word searches have proven effective in doing that.
3. Word searches help develop enhanced visual and spatial insight.
In order to be in sync with our surroundings, we need visual and spatial insight. That is the understanding and the ability to see with the mind’s eye, the amount of space around us and how we interact with it. As we age, we lose this keen ability. Doing puzzles can help to develop and enhances these particular skills.
When I was doing word search puzzles with my grandma, I always remember her telling me stories about her friends, who she would meet up with on Saturday afternoons to Word Search with. It seemed to be a standing arrangement, and while it didn’t impact on me then, I now realize just how important those meet-ups were for my grandma.
Being able to socialize with peers and have a common goal or focus (the word search) is a great way to keep a senior’s social life alive.
5. Doing word searches adds meaning and substance to life.
When people age, they often feel as if there is nothing to work towards. It can lead to depression, feelings of helplessness, frustration, and so on. By having a selection of puzzles available, seniors can feel as if they have more purpose in a day. There’s “something to do”.
6. Solving puzzles such as word searches help to enhance problem-solving skills.
Have you ever encountered a senior person who seems confused or unable to work out a scenario or situation in his or her head? Most times, said person will blame it on their age, and they are not wrong. As people age, their problem-solving skills begin to deteriorate. This could be from the lack of needing to solve problems in everyday life.
In order to keep problem-solving skills current and readily available, it is important for a senior to exercise them on a regular basis. Word search and other puzzles provide the perfect opportunity to do that.
7. Word searches are a good form of therapy.
Many seniors go through ups and downs. Instead of fixating on the problem or negative thought patterns, it is a good idea to distract. Doing a word search is a healthy and effective way for someone to distract from their problems and get out of their heads. Thus, it’s a great form of therapy.
8. Doing word searches helps beat anxiety and nervousness.
Again, distraction is the key to dealing with anxiety and nervousness. If you have nothing to refocus your attention on or distract you from the matter at hand, the anxiety and nervousness will only get worse. Doing something that requires thinking is a great way to beat anxiety and nervousness as one has to take their mind off current issues and focus on the moment (and the puzzle).
9. Word searches can help to delay the onset of neurological disorders.
Neurological disorders are feared by most seniors. They lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. While there is no way to cure or stop these diseases, there is a way to ensure that the onset doesn’t bring debilitating effects with it. The more active a senior keeps his/her brain, the more they can delay the onset of these disorder’s negative effects.
10. Doing word searches is a great boredom buster.
If someone (not only seniors) has very little to do in a day, boredom will undoubtedly set in. Boredom can lead to lethargy, which can eventually lead to depression. It’s best to keep boredom at bay in the senior years. What better way to beat boredom than to while away the hours over a puzzle?
11. Older adults can use word searches to relieve stress.
Because word searches are engaging for the mind, they act as a great stress reliever. Got a lot on your mind? Panicking about something? Try doing a word search. It will bring your heart rate down, it will calm your mind, and you will start feeling a lot less stressed in no time at all.
12. Word searches are something to look forward to (competitions).
Every couple of weeks, you will find that there are word search competitions online. These provide people with something to look forward to. A lot of retirement villages also offer in-house competitions for these and other puzzles. Having something to look forward to is vital for seniors, especially those living alone.
13. Completing word searches provides a way to bond with the family (grandkids).
If you are worried about what grandma will be able to do with the kids, word searches are a great option. While grandkids and grandparents can’t do much of the same things, word searches are fun for both age groups and provide the perfect opportunity to bond as the grandparents can help and guide the kids through the word search.
14. Doing word searches boosts dopamine (the feel-good hormone).
Doing a word search and completing it releases a healthy dose of dopamine in the brain. This is the hormone responsible for those feel-good feelings. Elderly people who want to experience this happiness need only keep their brains active with word searches and other puzzles too.
15. Doing Word Searches is a lot of fun.
Last but not least, doing a word search puzzle is fun. Seniors also want to have fun …what better way to do so than with a word search!
My grandma was always a spry old lady. She was witty, intelligent, and never missed a beat. I often wondered how she managed to keep her mind so young in comparison to others her age. Perhaps now I have found out!
If you were ever wondering what the benefits of doing word search puzzles are for seniors, now you know! Whether you are a senior yourself, or someone looking for a beneficial activity for a senior; you simply cannot go wrong with a word search puzzle.