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9 Best Board Games for Seniors and the Elderly - Happier Human

9 Best Board Games for Seniors and the Elderly

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Are you looking for the best board games to give as gifts to your parents or grandparents?

If so, then you’ve landed on the right page! In this post, we share with you the 9 best board games for seniors and the elderly. We have reviewed these games thoroughly and found that they provide the best experience when it comes to fun and entertainment.

But before we get to our list, let us first discuss the benefits of playing board games for those who are more advanced in years.

Benefits of Board Games for Seniors and the Elderly

Numerous studies have proven that playing games—particularly card and board games—is hugely beneficial for older people. Research shows that these recreational activities help in maintaining cognitive function, mental clarity, and memory retention.

You have probably heard that playing board games can also help prevent the early onset of age-related ailments like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Board games help prevent these diseases by keeping their brains active and functioning.

In addition to cognitive benefits, did you know that board games have social benefits, too? Indeed, these games improve social skills and interpersonal relationships. They create a space where people can communicate and strengthen their bonds with each other. They also prevent older people from feeling lonely and isolated. 

Playing games has many other benefits as well. If you want to read a comprehensive article about the advantages of playing board games, check out this post.

Now let’s check out our list of the best board games for the elderly!

1. Scrabble

Scrabble has long been a classic, favorite word board game. The game was created in 1938 when renowned architect Alfred Mosher Butts was looking for a way to make ends meet. He designed Scrabble to utilize both chance and skill in a single game.

Currently, Scrabble game is manufactured by Hasbro Gaming, one of the giants in the game manufacturing industry. The board comes with 100 wooden letters, four tile racks, and one drawstring letter bag where you draw your letters.

The goal is to score the highest number of points when all the letters from the bag have been drawn and played. There are bonus points for utilizing scoring hotspots and using all your tiles in one single turn.

We recommend Scrabble for older people because research shows that it significantly reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s never too late to battle the onset of these mental illnesses. Besides, it sure is a lot of fun to play board games with your grandparents!

Pros

  • A classic favorite, with proven popularity.
  • Contributes to brain development and memory retention for older people.
  • Improves both vocabulary and strategic thinking.

Cons

  • People with weak vocabularies might not enjoy the game.
  • You need a pen and paper to keep track of everyone’s scores.

2. Chess

If there is a game that’s more “classic” than Scrabble, then it is surely chess. This game has its roots in the Indian strategy game called “Chaturanga,” which originated before the 7th century! Chess is a two-player game that uses a checkered board with 64 squares in an 8×8 grid.

This Chess Family Classics Edition from Pressman is one of the bestselling versions of the game. It features a heavy-duty, folding chess board for easy storage and preservation, and comes with a set of beautiful black and ivory Staunton chess pieces (two kings, two queens, four rooks, four knights, four bishops, and 16 pawns).

For those who are not aware of the game’s rules, the goal is to checkmate your opponent’s king by cornering it in an inescapable position. Checkmate is a game position in chess where the king is “in check” (in danger of being taken) and there is way to prevent the attack. 

We recommend Chess for elders because it is a board game that stimulates and engages the brain. It also improves logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Most importantly, this classic board game has been proven to lower the risk of age-related cognitive illnesses like dementia.

Pros

  • Helps improve cognitive abilities, especially mental clarity and analytical thinking.
  • Rules are simple and the game is easy to play.
  • Comes in different variations, like Rhombic Chess and Masonic Chess.

Cons

  • While the rules are simple, the strategy needed is a bit complex.
  • It takes a lot of practice before you become an exemplary chess player.

3. Yahtzee

Yahtzee is great entertainment for those who love playing dice games. It was designed and created by Milton Bradley, and first marketed by the National Association Service of Toledo (Ohio) as Yatzie. It is currently owned by Hasbro, the same manufacturing company that produces Scrabble and Monopoly.

The game has one simple objective, and that is to score points by making specific combinations. You have to roll the dice to create the combos, and you need to be careful for the dice to stay in the box. There are 13 rounds per game, and after each round the players have to choose which scoring categories they should use.

Note, however, that once a scoring category has been used, it cannot be used again for the rest of the game. The winner is the player with the most number of points at the end.

Yahtzee is often recommended for older people because it keeps the brain sharp and prevents age-related cognitive decline. 

Pros

  • A classic board game with proven merit.
  • Goal and premise are straightforward—no complicated rules.
  • Provides fun and entertainment, not just for elders, but for the whole family.

Cons

  • Rules may seem a bit complex for first-time players.

4. Boggle

Boggle is another product of Hasbro Gaming, although it was originally distributed by Parker Brothers. It is a word game invented by Allan Turoff, and the goal is to create as many words as you can within a given set of rules and a given timeframe.

To start the game, players need to shake the covered dice and then settle them into a 4×4 tray. The top letter of each cube should be visible because this is where the words will come from. After that, the timer is started and each player lists down all the words they can find from the letters on the dice (horizontally, vertically, and diagonally).

Note that the words should at least be three letters long, and that players may not use the same letter cube more than once per word. When the timer stops, everyone should stop writing and then words are scored based on their length. Remember, however, that any duplicate words (when two or more players have written the same words) are eliminated before the scoring begins.

Boggle is said to be a great game for the elderly because it promotes creative and critical thinking. It stimulates the brain and slows down the process of mental aging. It also improves concentration and encourages socialization among players.

Pros

  • The game rules and mechanics are easy to learn and understand.
  • The game’s artwork and design are relaxing for the eyes of the elderly.
  • Exciting for those who love word games.

Cons

  • Can be a bit boring if you can’t create a word.
  • Slow handwriting can be a huge factor in losing.

5. Big Letter Bananagrams

If you are familiar with the simple version of Bananagrams, then this Big Letter version will feel quite familiar. The only difference between this one and the original version is the size of the letters—they are larger and the tiles use more contrast to make it easier for elders and low-vision players to see.

The goal and rules of the game are simple—you just need to create words horizontally or vertically on the board until there are no more letter tiles left. Whoever is the first person to have used all his or her letters once there are no more to draw is the winner. Note, however, that you have to shout “Bananas!” to be considered victorious.

The big letter version was inspired by an 85-year-old man from Chicago suffering from macular degeneration. He loved playing Bananagrams, but always had a hard time playing comfortably because of vision problems. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among elderly people, so the company behind the word game created the big letter version.

The sales proceeds of this particular version of the game are donated to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. The manufacturer aims to support the organization in its mission to help people have better vision.

Pros

  • Proceeds from the sales are put in good hands.
  • Suitable for all types of players of all ages.
  • Big letters is a big plus for elders and those with vision problems.

Cons

  • Careful with your seller, as some deliver the game in poor quality.

6. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is for seniors who love travel and adventure. It is a game that will help them reminisce about their vacation moments when they were still young, particularly to cities and sites in North America. If you are looking for the perfect travel-themed board game for them, then this one is a good option.

In this game, the goal of each player is to connect the railway routes uniting the cities of North America by matching train cards, as well as finishing objectives and accomplishing missions. Designed for two to five players, this board game has around 30 to 60 minutes of playtime.

We recommend this game for the elderly because it helps keep their brains active and clear. Moreover, it is a game they can play with their grandkids whilst educating them about the cities and places in North America.

Pros

  • Good for elders who want to refresh their memory about the places in North America.
  • Most elements of the game are fun and exciting.
  • An excellent board game for a fun game night with the family.

Cons

  • The game instructions may be a bit complicated and difficult to understand.
  • The game depends mostly on luck rather than strategy.

7. Hive

Hive is an addictive, award-winning board game that can keep anyone busy and focused. Although it may seem difficult to handle, it is actually recommended for players of all ages, even the elderly. The goal is to keep an eye on your hive and try to defeat the opponent’s queen bee.

What makes this game interesting is that there is no board to start with. You have to plan and play the pieces strategically so that they can create the board. As you add your pieces, you aim to surround the other side’s queen bee. At the same time, you also need to make sure that you protect yours.

According to the manufacturer, this game is designed for players who are ages eight and above. Most customers agree that it is very suitable for seniors because it keeps the brain sharp. Your grandparents will surely enjoy this unique game.

Pros

  • Has high replayability.
  • Suitable for players of all ages.
  • Portable and lightweight—perfect for traveling and outdoor play.

Cons

  • Not recommended for expert gamers who like complex strategies,

8. Monopoly

Monopoly is a classic board game suitable for adults and even the elderly. This is because it is not just a game not of chance, but also strategy.

You start the game with a few dollars, and then each player attempts to buy, sell, and trade properties and eventually own everything. At the same time, players must look for ways to ruin their opponents. 

Monopoly is a strategy game, meaning it is good for practicing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Likewise, it is a game that elders will surely love because they have the experience and wisdom necessary to win.

Pros

  • A classic board game for kids, teens, adults, and the elderly.
  • Excellent for improving social and analytical skills.
  • Suitable for older people because of the financial experience aspect.

Cons

  • Be careful with your seller, as some deliver the game in poor condition.

9. Trivial Pursuit

Last on our list is a game that will test your grandparents’ general knowledge—Trivial Pursuit Classic Edition. This retro version of the board game consists of 400 cards, one die, six wedge holders, and 36 wedges. There are 2,400 trivia questions in total.

What we love about this board game is that it has questions from the traditional version. It also has the classic gameplay that everybody knows and loves. This means that seniors won’t have a hard time understanding the mechanics of the game. Similarly, they’ll enjoy the questions because many of them are from their era.

We also love the fact that this board game allows the elderly to have a fun game night with the whole family, since the game is good for both adults and children. 

Pros

  • Setting up the game is easy.
  • Great game, whether for friends, groups, or families.
  • Contains the classic, traditional questions from the original version.

Cons

  • Might come off as boring for some players.

Conclusion

Playing board games can provide plenty of benefits to seniors and older family members. We hope that the list we shared above can help you find the best ones for them.

If you are looking for other types of board games that might possibly suit your needs, check out our other articles on board games. Here are a few of them:

fun brain games for seniors | video games for old people | games for elderly in nursing homes