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Columbia Press

Columnists & Other Opinions

Senior Moments: Games keep the mind young

By Emma Edwards, Friday, May 11, 2018

Seniors thrive on mentally challenging games such as bridge and pinochle, according to a recent AARP report.

Some of us took note of a recent article by Susan Cody in the Seaside Signal about seniors socializing through games. Playing games can keep you healthier longer, she wrote, and shared about card games going on at Astoria Senior Center and the Bob Chisholm Center in Seaside.

Sad to say, Warrenton does not yet have its own senior center to keep such activities at hand.

But “don’t give up,” I’m told. Warrenton Senior Citizens Inc. has a building fund and some monies are gently flowing into it.

Just think what it will be like when those of us wanting to improve our brains or at least feed them can just run over to “our” center and get in on a game, coffee and snacks at the drop of a hat! Some favorites of many seniors include Scrabble, Checkers, Dominoes and several versions of Rummy.

However, we can’t underestimate the value of a nice crisp walk to feed our brains. Sometimes, when we feel like snuggling into our chairs and falling asleep, if we take a walk we get that extra wind (or is it extra wind-up).

Remember when we used to have to wind up our watches and alarm clocks? Sometimes our body clocks need winding up too. At least mine does.

Playing games and being socially active results in better cognitive and physical health, according to a study done by Keith A. Josephs, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Josephs stressed that games are not going to prevent a degenerative process or the onset of Alzheimer’s but that they might delay the onset of symptoms “so that the individual can function at a higher level.”

So much to learn and so little time.

At our Warrenton meal site table the other day we got to wondering if oysters, crabs and clams have eyes? Would someone who won’t eat food that came from something with a face eat them? You cannot believe what I found out. But it will have to wait until next week!

Not long ago, the Alzheimer’s Association shared about a clinic in Finland that demonstrated the benefits of combining cognitive training and social activity. Bridge people seem to be more serious during the game, whereas pinochle players seem to talk and laugh more during their games. Many sources stress the social value of even simple games such as the “Hand and Foot” card game I’ve been known to play until after midnight.

“McDougal on Pinochle” says, “There is much good-natured kidding during most pinochle games -- more than would be tolerated at bridge. Whereas, good bridge players discourage such facetiousness, but there is no penalty attached thereto.”

I suspect I’m too giddy to play bridge.

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