Fighting Brain Disorders with Board Games
Would you believe it if we told you that there is a fun way to fight disorders like Alzheimer’s and Dementia? Well there is, and it's called Board Games!
One of the biggest issues that the elderly face is a decline in their brain health, with issues like Dementia and Alzheimer’s creeping up. Did you know that there are more than a million cases of Alzheimer’s reported every year just in India alone? Scientists believe that such mental disorders are usually cased due to genetic, behavioural, lifestyle, and environmental factors that start affecting the brain.
There are precautions that one can take to prevent or reduce the risk of mental decline. Keeping good physical health not only reduces the risks of heart diseases, but also reduces the risk of mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes in check, and avoiding smoking may reduce the risk of developing these mental disorders. Other stimulating activities such as social engagement, reading, solving puzzles, dancing, playing board games, creating art, and music are also known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Playing Board Games is especially beneficial in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s or prolonging the symptoms since it helps in three ways – it stimulates the cognitive functions of the brain, aids social engagement which again helps in brain stimulation, and encourages fun thereby reducing depression.
As per The Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation, benefits of mental stimulation were noted in people in the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s. A French population based cohort study reported in PubMed Central (PMC) concludes that a possible beneficial effect of board game playing on the risk of dementia could be mediated by less cognitive decline and less depression in elderly board game players. It reports that board game players have a 15% lower risk of developing dementia than non-players, and that the cumulative risk of dementia was significantly reduced in participants who played board games versus those we didn't.
There are many research studies that suggest that Board Games can enhance memory formation, lower stress, help lower blood pressure, combat depression and memory loss, and may also help hand dexterity and coordination for ageing adults.
At Zvata, it is important for us to create games not just for kids, but for adults and seniors as well, since we have seen the benefits of Board Games first hand in tackling depression and stimulating social interaction in Adults. The game Hexpert created by Peter Burley was published especially as a game that can be mentally stimulating for all groups of people – kids, adults and seniors.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to lead a lifestyle of good mental health. Why not do that with something that is a lot of fun too?!
Note: This article is not meant to be a medical diagnosis or treatment, but is meant to be a short summary of multiple research studies done on the subject.