Did you know word games can significantly improve cognitive function regardless of age?
Younger people benefit from better brain development; middle-aged folks enjoy enhanced cognitive function.
Studies also show that older individuals may wade off degenerative conditions, like dementia and Alzheimer’s, by regularly doing brain teasers.
With that in mind, we’ve curated a list of 26 word games for seniors — many of which are free and instantly available.
- Benefits of Word Games for Seniors
- 26 Best Word Games for Seniors
- 17 Popular Word Games For Seniors
- 1. Scrabble
- 2. Senior Brain Game Puzzles
- 3. 101 Puzzles Activities for Seniors Large Print
- 4. Brain Games Large Print Crosswords
- 5. Pressman Word Hangman
- 6. Brain Boosting Trivia for Seniors: Print and Play
- 7. Stay Positive! Large Print Word Search
- 8. Large Print Memory Word Search Puzzles For Seniors
- 9. The Mindfulness Memory Activity Book for Adults and Seniors
- 10. Wheel of Fortune Word Puzzles
- 11. Memory Games for Seniors
- 12. Word Search for Adults
- 13. Big Letter Bananagrams
- 14. Wordle by Hasbro
- 15. Big Boggle Classic Edition
- 16. My Word! Game
- 17. Upwords Board Game
- 9 Free Online Word Games for Seniors
Benefits of Word Games for Seniors
The scientific jury’s decision is in: Word games, memory teasers, and puzzles help keep aging brains spry and nimble.
Why are they the cerebral version of lifting weights? Let’s review three primary reasons.
- Focus and Stress-Relief: While researchers aren’t 100% sure why, they know that focusing intently on one thing relaxes parts of the brain, which lowers stress levels.
- Stronger and “Smarter” Neurotransmitters: We are what we think, and regular time spent solving puzzles improves cognitive function by exercising oft-neglected neurotransmitters.
- Better Concentration: Our ability to concentrate erodes the older we get. But studies show that word games can bolster the skill, especially when we form the habit before degenerative brain conditions settle in.
26 Best Word Games for Seniors
We’ve compiled the ultimate list of word games for seniors. Our goal was to find options across the board. Look into the ones that appeal to you and skip the rest.
Popular Word Games For Seniors
The following options are a mix of old-time favorites and well-received new ones. All of them will help keep a mind agile.
The brainchild of Alfred Mosher Butts, Scrabble first hit shelves in 1938. Today, it’s sold across 121 countries in 30 languages — but North Americans and Brits are the biggest fans.
Ultimately, players win by getting the most points by making the best words from the board. And who knows, if you excel, you may have a shot at entering the North American Scrabble Players Association’s annual tournament.
This collection of word games for elderly people is perfect for individuals navigating the early stages of dementia. Studies suggest it’s possible to slow the rate of deterioration by keeping the mind occupied and active, and word games are highly effective.
They don’t need to be complicated or academic. Simple crosswords and word searches are super! This inexpensive download collection includes various games and is a great introductory product.
Each of the 101 pages of this 8.5 x 11 senior-activity download features a classic or unique puzzle. Not all are word games, but they’re all super for stimulating cognitive function to slow the cerebral deterioration process.
So if you’re looking for puzzle books for someone navigating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other aging conditions, put this on the list.
Brain Games’ large-print book of crosswords is inexpensive and not insulting. Some puzzle books claim to be curated for seniors but feel like they’re just rebranded kindergarten-aged books.
But this one features more mature topics, including the gourmet scene, novelists, literature, common phrases, nature, and more.
It’s spiral-bound, contains about 80 puzzles, and the print is large enough that many people report not needing their reading glasses.
Pressman’s Word Hangman is the “Battleship” of word games. The goal is to guess your opponent’s word before “being hanged.” An update on the classic pen-and-paper game, this model has 144 letter tiles and two tracking modules.
Trivia qualifies as a word game and is another effective way to exercise memory muscles. This instantly available book of trivia for seniors is fun for the whole family, making it a win-win for older adults and their caretakers alike.
This collection features 100 questions and is used by many senior communities as a much-beloved activity for residents.
Life is a journey of peaks and valleys, elation and misery, health and illness. So sometimes, it helps to look on the sunny side of the street.
While forced positivity can be toxic, choosing to focus on the glass half full can be the exact mind tweak needed to get through a particularly rough day.
This book of upbeat word searches is perfect for those gloomy days when a mood boost is exactly what the doctor orders.
Studies also show that doing brain games and puzzles can relieve stress. So put this Stay Positive! Adult game book in your cart, and keep it on hand for a rainy day.
This word search collection is perfect for an older person who loves nostalgia. It takes people back to a time when sock-hops were a “happening,” record players were high-tech, and leaving the house in sweatpants was the height of crude.
It features 100 puzzles, is large print, and includes puzzles with titles like “Drive-In Theaters” and “Back to the 60s.”
This hefty tome of brain teasers, puzzles, and word games was specially designed to “reduce cognitive function decline and improve brain health.”
Some of the activities in this book — including word scrambles, searches, and rhymes — are a bit more advanced than similar products and are geared toward people who’ve yet to develop dementia but are trying to avoid it.
The Mindfulness Memory Activity Book is jumbo-print for easier reading, and it’s divided into six sections.
Do you have a loved one who’s a big fan of “the Wheel”? Could they also benefit from doing word games and puzzles? This is the perfect puzzle book if you answered yes to both questions.
This sturdy, spiral-bound collection of 160 puzzles is great for both people learning English and seniors who want to keep their memories sharp.
In addition to Wheel of Fortune puzzles, it includes crosswords and word searches.
Billed as the perfect gift for “smart seniors,” this massive book of brain games and teasers — with XXL print — boasts 501 exercises. There are puzzles for all levels, from super easy to exceptionally difficult, making it a good option for people at all stages of development or decline.
It also includes a trivia quiz section that tests general knowledge about the past and present.
Word searches may seem overly simplistic, but research shows they’re vocabulary boosters that improve mental acuity.
One practice that keeps brains sharp is spotting patterns; word searches exercise that muscle. This well-organized book is chock full of games sorted by topic and difficulty.
We picked this one as ideal for seniors because the print is large and clear; plus, there’s enough variety to keep things interesting.
Bananagrams is a more vocal, active version of Scrabble. Every banana word bag comes with over 140 tiles, and the goal is to create as many word grids with your lot as possible. Commands like “peel,” “split,” “dump,” and “bananas” affect the flow of the game.
This set of Bananagrams tiles features larger letters for easier reading.
14. Wordle by Hasbro
People in certain circles will never forget where and when they met Wordle. The highly habit-forming word game developed by Josh Wardle hit the scene in 2021 and immediately went viral. Nerds, jocks, bikers, and theater kids alike had caught the bug.
The New York Times bought the game in 2022 and collaborated with Hasbro to make a board version of Wordle to play in person.
Fair warning: It’s highly addictive!
“Parker Brothers Bigger Hidden WORD Game,” Boggle, entered homes in 1979. The original model featured smaller letter dice, but this model boasts huge blocks for better viewing. It also comes with the classic Boggle timer.
Enter the winner’s circle by finding as many words in a block horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. But remember, the letters must all be touching to land a point!
16. My Word! Game
My Word! is a party game, but it’s also great for senior adults on the cusp of cerebral maturation. It’s an easy card game that forces players to think quickly. How does it work?
Letter cards are dolled out in the middle face up, and the first person to call out a word composed of at least three letters wins the cards. The person with the most cards at the end wins.
This model made our list because the tin container keeps things organized.
People are rediscovering Upwords — the classic game where you earn points by stacking high! It is a fun party or family night game, and it’s super for seniors invested in keeping their brains sharp. The board rotates, making it easier to see, and the stackable letter tiles are large and clear.
Free Online Word Games for Seniors
We’ve looked at several popular word game options on the commercial market. Now, let’s turn our attention to a few free options.
Elevate is a freemium app that promises to help users “stay sharp, build confidence, and boost productivity.” It won Apple’s App of the Year award, and the program features 40 types of brain teasers in everything from math to literature to confidence building.
Elevate features levels, so seniors can tweak it to their aptitude and adjust as needed. It’s available for both iPhones and Androids.
Peak is a leading brain-training app meant to be used in short, focused bursts. They have programs that exercise your problem-solving, memory, and recall muscles.
It’s proven to level up mental acuity, but the Peak engine isn’t one for people who aren’t motivated by competition. After each exercise, it tells you how you compare to others’ efforts— and sometimes, the results are confidence-crushing.
But if you’re only concerned with beating your best and won’t bother with the statistics, Peak is packed with helpful brain games.
Word Master has two versions: Classic and Pro. A mash-up of scrabble and crossword, players are given clues for words and earn points by placing certain letters on double- and triple-score boxes.
What’s the difference between the two options? Classic is free, and Pro costs about $5.
4. Wander Words
Wander Words is not an easy game, so it may not be appropriate for someone who’s already slipped into the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. But if you’re a senior who’s still sharp as a tack and wants to stay that way, check out wander words.
As its name suggests, 9 Word Search is a collection of digital crossword puzzles that have nine words each.
All the puzzles are themed and straightforward, making them a great way to destress for five minutes while simultaneously exercising your brain.
6. Word Wipe
If you’ve never played a word wipe puzzle before, the first few times can be frustrating. For starters, understanding the rules can take time; getting the hang of it could take a lifetime.
That said, these types of puzzles work the brain in the best possible ways. So try curbing your frustration and stick with it. Your gray matter will thank you for it.
Wordmeister is very similar to Scrabble. What makes it a bit more challenging is the allowance of words from many dialects, in addition to British, Australian, and Canadian English variations.
Many people say they don’t recognize half the words the computer plays. But instead of getting frustrated, try to see it as a learning opportunity — that will help keep your mind sharp!
If the droning, potentially maddening music is driving you to the brink, click the upper-left bullhorn icon to shut it up.
Outspell is another Scrabble-esque game with more opportunities to score on strategically placed letters. You can play against other people or the computer, and unlike a lot of other free puzzle platforms, games aren’t timed, making it a more relaxing experience.
Check out USA Today’s Daily True Trivia game if you’re in the mood for trivia instead of word games or puzzles. It’s free, and you can play several different boards a day. The only catch: you must wait 24 hours between each round.
More Related Articles
The studies are undeniable. Word games and brain puzzles are a super way to improve and maintain cognitive function and a quick wit — whether you’re 8 or 98. So we hope you found options on this list that work for you, and may they provide hours of engaged, stress-reducing, brain-sharpening ahead.