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Interesting Benefits of Chess for Seniors

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Currently, the advancements of technology make it possible for humans to live longer. Several studies reveal that global life expectancy increases to over 80 years. However, it doesn’t necessarily imply that aging adults are living a better and quality life. Despite the innovation, seniors are still vulnerable to depressive symptoms, along with isolation and mental illnesses.

In 2015, the London Chess Conference held a presentation that stormed the internet. One of the presenters was Karel van Delf, a psychologist and journalist, who offered a fascinating insight to deal with aging adults’ problems: chess.

Delf collected findings from medical doctors and laboratory reports to determine whether chess helps older adults to prevent the side effects of aging or not. Based on his findings, he concluded that playing chess boosts seniors’ social, mental, and physical health.

Key Benefits of Playing Chess for Seniors

Chess is one of the most famous board games in the world. Some might think that chess is only for intellectually gifted individuals, but different age groups can reap a wealth of benefits from playing it. Although chess isn’t a physical activity that can help you build stronger bones and muscles, it offers mental health benefits for the elderly. Meanwhile, the interaction from the opponent player plays a strong role in social well-being.

Here are the other things you need to know about how chess benefits aging adults:

1. It serves as gymnastics for seniors’ minds.

Considering chess as part of seniors’ regular activities can activate their brains. Since chess requires critical thinking, seniors need to stimulate their minds for a better game result. They need to use logical thinking to arrive at a move that puts the opponent in a difficult situation. A human’s brain is composed of two hemispheres: the right and left hemispheres, responsible for creativity and logic, respectively. Hence, there’s no wonder why chess keeps people logical and creative, as it’s already proven with research and facts. Additionally, exercising your brain is essential to boost your system and fight cognitive-related changes. Take note; chess games are never the same twice. Each player needs to consider both self and other’s movements carefully to win the game.

2. It helps in improving seniors’ memory and intelligence quotient (IQ).

As seniors age, their memories are affected as well, resulting in a loss of focus and concentration. Good thing, chess game caters to this problem. Chess only has six individual types of chess pieces, but each of them encompasses a unique movement pattern. Remembering the piece’s movement allows seniors to boost their mind’s cognitive memory. Aside from perceptive memory, chess game raises seniors’ IQ. Moving chess’ pieces on the board allow seniors to create a perspective of “what-ifs,” which is an essential decision to win the game. To support this statement, researchers conducted a study on how chess games improve seniors’ focus and memory. At the end of the study, researchers reveal that seniors produced significant rates on their IQ.

3. It prevents the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Aging adults are prone to reduced brain activity levels, affecting proper brain functions that can result in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Similar to the physical body, seniors need to keep their minds healthy and fit. In 2003, The New England Journal of Medicine published an article relating mental activities and dementia. The research concludes that in a seniors’ age group, adults who play chess games are less likely to develop dementia than those who aren’t playing. The author even termed “use it or lose it,” that refers to a human’s brain, as an inactive brain results in decreased power. Nevertheless, reduced brainpower means decreased social and mental engagement, which affects a senior’s life negatively.

4. It provides a great social experience for aging adults.

Whether seniors play with relatives, neighbors, or chess clubs, they’ll undoubtedly meet new people in their lives. Meeting new people allows seniors to know different personalities, characteristics, and behaviors that help them become more open-minded about their environment. Playing games gives them a hobby for increased socialization and interaction. Seniors can even get new companions and friends through chess tournaments or games. What is more, chess enhances seniors’ sportsmanship, which also contributes to a positive treatment for other people.

5. It boosts critical and analytical thinking skills.

Playing chess games requires seniors to think critically and analyze logically to derive an optimum solution. Actually, seniors who aren’t a fan of chess or other mental activities have more difficulties in solving a problem. Unlike those, active seniors can easily decide the best decision for them to arrive at a good conclusion. Similar to chess, seniors need to decide on their lives. Along with this process includes thinking of the possible options and risks associated with each decision made. In terms of analysis, active seniors become creative in identifying the essential strategies among a considerable number of presented concepts. Despite the uncertainties, senior chess players can arrive at a positive decision quickly.

6. It serves a fun way to relieve stress and anxiety

Chess is indeed an engaging and fun way to relieve your worries. Whenever seniors concentrate on a game, they won’t think of their problems too much. Seniors can take advantage of this by joining chess tournaments in their community. If there’s none, chess boards are available in the market. You can buy one and play with your aging parents. Learning the basic rules of chess gives you and your loved one a good start. Don’t worry if you lose the game; you can have another start and have a game differently. Be aware that different moves affect the game uniquely.

Overall, here are the exciting benefits of chess tournaments for seniors. You are wondering where to join one? Visit Oasis Day Center today!

We provide engaging board games that cater to seniors’ mental health. Encourage your loved ones today and help them achieve an exciting way to relieve their boredom.

To learn more about our activities, visit our office. We are located at 1930 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. You can also email us at contact@oasisdaycenter.com or call us at (718) 682-7843. See you there!

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In the wake of the Corona Virus outbreak, we have closed our center to the seniors of our community to protect them from this dangerous virus. However we have now created a dedicated Facebook group for seniors in Brooklyn and are preparing digital events so that you can stay connected with your community!

Even though to stay safe we should practice social isolation, it does not mean we have to do it alone!
We are in this together

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