9 Memory Games That Seniors Can't Stop Playing

Work your memory by having fun with these addictive games!

Published April 3, 2023
Group of seniors playing cards around table

Memories are valuable, but there's much to be done to keep those memories long and strong. Games are one of the best ways to get the senior brain some much-needed exercise. Take your pick of digital puzzles and those with pen and paper that'll become a new part of the daily routine, and happily!

Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles make the brain search for connections and hunt through the memory for answers over and over again. From recent pop culture, definitions of words, and how to make the answers fit, crosswords are a workout for the memory. If you're looking for an incredible crossword you can play online, The Washington Post's Daily Crossword allows you to check the puzzle as you go to make sure you're on the right track. Classic memory games for seniors like crosswords are hard to beat when it comes to fun.

Woman doing crossword puzzle


Not only a problem solving puzzle, Sudoku helps the memory! Unlike a crossword puzzle that requires sometimes very niche knowledge, a Sudoku requires nothing more than numbers. It's great for keeping the memory sharp as you work through the puzzle because you'll need to recall the numbers you haven't yet used. Play Sudoku online or with a pen(cil) and paper.

Woman doing Sudoku puzzle


Alternatively, this game goes by an easy to remember name: memory. Grab two suits from a deck of cards, purchase a set of cards dedicated to the memory game, or pull up an online version of memory. Flip all the cards so they they're face down. Flip up one card, and then flip up another. If they match, remove the pair from the table. If not, flip them back down and repeat until all the cards are cleared.

Make it a race and compete with a friend or set a timer to see how fast you can go!

Grandfather and grandson playing concentration with deck of cards


A universal game, you can play chess with a friend, on your phone, or on your computer. Not only is this a game of strategy, but you'll need to recall the possible moves you're considering making as well as the follow-up moves to counter your opponent.

The good news is when you play against the computer, you can alter the difficulty level to meet you where you are.

Senior father and adult son playing chess

Jigsaw Puzzles

How are puzzles a memory game? Because your brain needs to work where its seen that pop of color, that little piece of flower petal, the corner of the house, all while you sort through and piece together the puzzle.

Still not sold? Why not pick up a jigsaw puzzle that becomes a search and find once you're done. Now that'll really make you recall what you see on each piece while you're solving.

Senior couple doing a puzzle

Trivia Games

Like crosswords, trivia games make your brain work through all the information you have stored. Whether it's party games like Trivial Pursuit that make you search for an answer without clues, an evening watch of Jeopardy that forces you to think of the question for the answer, or games that offer a little help, such as the phone app Trivia Crack (which gives you multiple-choice questions) there are lots of trivia games that prove to be great memory exercises for seniors.

senior woman playing trivia games on her phone

Words With Friends

Take your Scrabble game online where distance doesn't matter with Words With Friends. (Although a classic in-person game of Scrabble is just as great.) Make your brain search through your memory bank of words to build a word with the highest points. And as you consider all the options you can play, your memory will work to keep those ideas in the front of your mind. (And - if you need a little help, there's no shame in using a helper tool like WordFinder!)

If you want something that you can play solo, Boggle makes for an excellent option to build words, remember the words you've played, and the words you want to play. You can play online or keep a set at home for yourself.

Two senior women playing Words With Friends or Scrabble-like game

Serving Tray Game

You know that drawer with all sorts of miscellaneous things inside of it? It has an excellent use now. Or you can gather up small random items from around the house that'll fit on a table. Drop a dozen or so items on the tray. Take a peak at the tray for approximately thirty seconds then turn away or cover up the objects.

Try to write down as many items as you saw! If it starts to get too easy, increase the number of items over time or even race a friend.

Assorted items for serving tray game


Playing some mahjong is great for the short-term memory, like Sudoku and jigsaw puzzles. It'll sharpen your memorization skills, and when you play online, it's easy to turn the difficulty up or down depending on how much of a challenge you're looking for.

group playing mahjong game

Keep Your Memory Sharp Through Play

Sharpen your short term memory and give your long term memory a work out with some brain puzzles. From classic pen and paper crossword puzzles to digital game challenges with Words With Friends, memory games are no longer a dull, rainy day activity. They're a way to keep in touch with family and keep your memory healthy.

9 Memory Games That Seniors Can't Stop Playing