Connecting with others is important at all ages. However, research has shown us that socialization with peers is even more important as we age. Feelings of perceived loneliness have been linked to rapid cognitive decline, numerous health problems, and even premature death. Fortunately, older adults don’t have to host huge parties in order to reap the benefits of socialization. Instead, cultivating relationships with small groups of family members or peers can boost overall emotional and physical health.
If you are seeking additional socialization or just an idea for your next get-together, consider breaking out board games. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite board games for seniors that are a hit for every age and for any group gathered in your home.
We love this game because it moves quickly, thanks to the included timer, and because it is good brain exercise. It requires complex thinking and vocabulary skills, both of which are guaranteed to give your mind a workout. And don’t worry if you have arthritis that makes gripping a pencil painful. You can also just use the cards and dice to transform the game into a group effort. Simply call out the category and letter so that everyone in the group can see how many words they can name.
Ticket to Ride
Available in a few versions, Ticket to Ride is an excellent way to pass the time with family or friends. It takes strategy and a bit of risk to build your train cars across the country, and you’ll love that anyone of any age can play, though younger grandkids may have more fun if they pair up with an adult.
A true classic, Sequence has demonstrated that it can withstand the test of time. It’s a race to get a row of five chips on the board by using the cards you draw. This game is engaging enough to keep competitive adults captivated and easy enough for kids to play too.
Who knew a small wooden board with marbles could be so much fun? This strategy game is for two players and travels well, which makes it perfect for a picnic basket or glove compartment.
Another classic, Clue players scramble to solve the mystery of who did it, with what weapon, and in which room. You can find Clue in a variety of formats and editions, including one for younger sleuths.
Though this game technically doesn’t have a board to play on (you just play on the table or floor), Bananagrams is a new twist on Scrabble. We love this game because it has brain exercise built in and because it is portable, making it ideal to take with you to the next lunch at the senior center.
Escape the Crate
Escape rooms are excellent group activities because they require a great deal of communication and problem-solving. You can find escape room-inspired games in the game aisle at your local store, or you can try a monthly subscription service that sends a new one to your address each month. This is the perfect excuse to pull a group of friends together monthly as you decipher new clues and new puzzles.
If you are far away from family members or staying socially distant from friends right now, you can still find those feelings of connection with a bit of ingenuity. For example, you can play cards or a board game with friends over Zoom or another video calling app. Tech-savvy seniors can play games online with old and new friends, chatting up a storm in the chat box.
Staying socially active is crucial in retirement. Learn how to stay engaged with new ideas by downloading our free resource, “The Busy Person’s Guide to Recreation in Retirement.”