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Play Word Games for a Healthy Brain

Updated on October 15, 2017

Grandpa, by the Judds

Grandpa, who encouraged me to be the best I could be
Grandpa, who encouraged me to be the best I could be

The other day I met an elderly friend in the local Starbucks. She lives in an independent living care home and each month they have a contest to see who can find the most words in a word. This month the word is GRANDCHILDREN. Did you know there are over 900 words (including 3-letter words) using those letters? I was amazed.

Playing these kind of brain games is a wonderful way to improve our mind-health. My friend is determined to win--she studies the dictionary and talks to people about this challenge so she can learn how to improve her score. The Internet has many sites where people can play brain games and learn how to improve their brain health in a fun and interesting way. Here are two examples of sites to explore: Wordplay.com or Luminosity.
I’ve always been fascinated with how we learn, how we can develop our brain muscle, and how we can keep it active and in shape. Our brain is a muscle that has to be exercised or it will atrophy just like any other unused muscle in our body. I have never accepted the myth that we get too old to learn something--it is never too late to get in brain-shape.

When my grandpa was 86 years old he traveled by train from Manitoba to British Columbia to visit his children and grandchildren. The day before he was booked to return he had a severe stroke and ended up in hospital instead. When he was stable and released from hospital, he came to live with us for a few months.

During this time, people resigned themselves to wait-and-see how much he would recover. Something inside of me just would not accept this fate and I started working with him to get his mobility and mind function back. He always was a very creative person and so I found a craft that we could learn and practice together. Many times he wanted to quit but I was determined not to let him. Gradually he improved and mastered the skills required--this gave him the hope and renewed desire to live. He was determined to get back to the life he loved and eventually was able to return to his home--he resumed woodworking in his basement shop, regained his speech (he loved to visit!), and started to drive again.

I knew in my spirit that this was possible long before the research validated my beliefs. A person has to be willing to put in the time and effort it takes to help someone “come back.” It takes love, determination and creativity to find what works for our loved one when an overextended medical system does not have the time or resources to help us. The effort is rewarding, however, when we see how it greatly improves their quality of life.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson--a person can learn and retrain their brain at any age if they are willing to work at it. If we develop a healthy brain, it will improve our own aging experience. So, let’s join my Starbucks friend in this brain work-out session: How many words can you find in GRANDCHILDREN?

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    • FloBe profile image
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      FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      prairieprincess...thanks so much for your kind words. Your words inspire and encourage me. Thanks for including one of my articles in your Hub...I feel very honored and thankful that it touched your heart the way it did. Glad you stopped by!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      Flo, it's so great that you were able to help your grandfather, and help to stimulate his brain. I, too, believe that people can learn, no matter what their age or condition. Great hub!

      Also, I just wanted to let you know that another one of your hubs is highlighted in my hub, "Hubs That Moved Me." Thanks and take care!

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Happyboomernurse...thanks for your kind comments. There truly is so much more we can do than we think possible at times.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi FloBe,

      What a great tribute to your Grandpa. It was amazing that your love, determination and instincts helped him regain enough functionality to return home, especially since that was before current research showed that's exactly what's needed to promote recovery.

      I also like the way you used the Judd video to augment this hub.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it inspires others to help their loved ones recover after brain injuries and to protect and exercise their own brains.

    • FloBe profile image
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      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      onegoodwoman...no problem, hope you have fun with it :)

    • onegoodwoman profile image

      onegoodwoman 7 years ago from A small southern town

      Cool Beans!

      In school, I was a "master" at that, as an adult, I cook in an Alzheimers center. I never thought to bring the two, together.

      Thanks for the idea! :)

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      We can all use help to keep our minds sharp. My Mom's greatest worry was that she wanted to be mentally sharp as she got older--she learned to use the computer in her mid-70's and is going strong to this day at 82. So, exercising our brain is worth it! Thanks for the comment and joining me, Nell.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, this was really interesting, I remember my mum loved to play word games and do quizzes, she was 80 when she died but her brain was still sharp as a button! great stuff, and now I have to try and do the words...lol cheers nell

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Haha, no problem...I was doing it for your sake...we are suckers for punishment! haha Thanks for playing

    • profile image

      aladdin2010 7 years ago

      oh, i got bored , i think you won :)

    • FloBe profile image
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      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      We've got a way to go, Aladdin2010, I think I might raise it to 5 words a day to speed things up a bit :) Even if we stop at 100 we're doing good.

      22. anger

      23. gander

      24. rend

      25. crag

      26. rage

    • profile image

      aladdin2010 7 years ago

      we still at the beginning you said there are over 900 word, hold on :)

      19. age

      20. can

      21. range

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm glad Aladdin, I'll have to check it out :)

      16. charge

      17. rancher

      18. dinner

    • profile image

      aladdin2010 7 years ago

      oh, how wise comment was that, it's even inspire me to write my opinion through today's words.

      13. Aging

      =

      14. Grand

      15. Rich. :)

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks, De Greek...but I have to disagree with you about being old and decrepit...age is only a state of mind! You definitely have a young mind :)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      What a good story for us decrepit oldies rapidly going downhill :-)))

    • FloBe profile image
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      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Here my next ones:

      10. drag

      11. grad

      12. grade

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      sounds good :)

    • profile image

      aladdin2010 7 years ago

      oh, i see...mmmmm,ok iam here if you wanna challenge me :)

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Well, Aladdin, it appears that putting the words-in-word "game" out into questions was not appropriate because it got removed by the moderator. They must have deemed it "too short answers" or something.

    • profile image

      aladdin2010 7 years ago

      Hi FloBe, i think you have to put the game question in "Questions" and ask people to join us this nice game..., Here are my words for today:

      7) Gain.

      8) And.

      9) Drain. :)

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      here's my three...

      charred

      dander

      hidden

    • FloBe profile image
      Author

      FloBe 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Good idea, Aladdin! The games on!

    • profile image

      aladdin2010 7 years ago

      Hi FloBe, indeed as we can breath then we able to learn...human mind has a power that no one can calculate, that's why we are the most advanced creatures in the earth, because of these two abilities..thinking and learn.

      About that interesting game you didn't mention how many words every one share this hub can give, because it will be unfair for people join this game at last ( it will be more difficult than me as i'll be the first ) :) so , i'll give the first three words and then give every day another words..

      1) Rain.

      2) Grain.

      3) Hand.

      see you soon :)