Sorry, there are no playable games on our site. That is not to say that there will never be games of that kind here, but for now that is not the goal. AARP does offer a small but challenging and fun assortment of games if that is what you're looking for. There are also for-profit, fee-charging sites designed to help improve memory and thinking. Those can easily be found through an online search.
This is face-to-face competition! These are showdowns between brain gladiators, senior men and women trained to respectfully beat each other . . . to a high score! We have all heard the phrase “use it or lose it” at one time or another, and it is true of so many things in life. Even though your car picks up wear and tear on the road, it must be driven regularly or it will still suffer damage and begin to break down. Leave a car sitting in your driveway for a year—never starting it, never moving it—and just see what kind of shape it's in when you try and take it on the road at the end of that year.
Research indicates, likewise, that our brains must also be driven regularly as we age. If not, just like the gaskets in a car’s engine, the battery, or the tires, our brain will begin to weaken, to break down. The difference is that we can repair or replace a car, or maybe even do without one. The condition of our brains will determine, possibly more than anything else, our independence and quality of life in later years. That is what we live for, is it not? We look forward to a good long life, not just a long one, right? Can we afford to sacrifice that? Can we neglect it? No, of course not. Then just like our ride, we need to maintain our brain. This is why the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability felt the need to introduce the Senior Brain Games to our state.
Study after study has shown that inactivity and a lack of stimulation both contribute to mental decline. True, severe disease can damage the brain in ways that no amount of stimulation can overcome. For many of us, though, there are also behaviors that lead to a gradual mental decline later in life. That means there are choices we can make—actions we can take—to resist that decline. Need proof? Read this study: Later Retirement May Help Prevent Dementia. The act of retirement itself is called into question! That isn't to say that our seniors haven't earned a little rest and relaxation, or that we should all keep in retirement the kind of work hours that we do when we are younger. It does mean we need to commit to a lifetime of learning, activity, and interaction with others. (Working longer has the added benefit of keeping retirement accounts healthy, too.)
It is the Commission’s hope that the Brain Games will serve as a starting point for Tennesseans who may not already be taking active steps to safeguard their mental health. Even though the goal is a regular workout for your brain, it is just as important that the work be fun and rewarding. Continuing education, learning new skills or languages, trying new things, playing games and working puzzles: None of these is a cure for dementia, but taken regularly they may serve as a shield against the worst symptoms.
Hold your horses, you have to train first! These games are for members of Tennessee's senior centers. Only senior center members are eligible to compete, and while each center will have a team of three with one additional alternate, members should train as a group—as a center. The goal of the Senior Brain Games is to get as many members as possible involved. Ideally, everyone exercises their thinking muscle. In that way, everyone wins regardless of the trophy-winning team.
The rules are available for download in a PDF format. The game and rules are provided to representatives of our state's area agencies, spread across three regions. That information is then spread to our state's senior centers. If anyone is overlooked, or if the rules are lost, this PDF is what you need to understand how the final game is played. That said, the rules also point out that training methods are up to the discretion of the individual senior centers. Likewise, if the various centers competing to represent their region can come to agreement, local competitions can consist of different challenges. If you want to have a Scrabble showdown, go ahead! We do recommend at least one game following the rules, however, to make sure competitors understand the format for the final competition.
Want a better understanding of what the games are about and how they are played at the local level? This article from the Johnson City Press does a great job of describing the game and the goals.
Added August 13, 2013
Great coverage from the Johnson City Press of the First Tennessee District's Senior Brain Games, including nearly a dozen photos! Looks like fun!
Added September 5, 2013