We’ve all seen the ads for computer programs, memory games and apps that promise to help preserve our memory and other cognitive abilities. The problem with many commercial programs and apps is that you have to pay a monthly fee for something you may get tired of or that may not be enjoyable.
The good news is that you don’t have to pay money to keep your brain active. You can find free brain games and puzzles on your smartphone, tablet or computer. There are also free apps and programs that help us eat right and move more, which further contribute to a healthy brain.
Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and scrabble are old favorites that challenge our brain. Here are a few other apps and websites to check out:
TwoDots has a clean, simple design and offers satisfying challenges that will draw you in and keep you coming back for more.
Bubble Ball is an excellent game for critical thinking and spatial problem solving. The format is simple and the directions are clear, but the answers are not always easy. The goal is to get the ball to the flag using different props, reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg obstacle course.
Cut the Rope has a playful appearance, but don’t be fooled, this game is a challenge! Whether you are 8 or 80 years old, it’s an entertaining game with clever obstacles.
If you prefer the computer over your smartphone, check out games for the brain. There are many different games to play, but one favorite is called Masterpiece.
Eating and moving
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine are important for maintaining the health and function of your brain.
Research shows that keeping a food diary is a great way to be aware of what you eat. You can do this with pencil and paper, on your phone with the MyFitnessPal app, or on a website like MyFoodDiary.
A quick search for a pedometer app on your smartphone will offer a wide array of free apps that track your activity level and encourage you to move more. The U.S. Department of Agriculture SuperTracker site includes a free food and physical activity tracker, as well as a weight manager. Your body and your brain will thank you for using these free tools.
The best app or website
The best app or website for your brain is the one that works for you. Find the one that challenges you without increasing your stress, keeps you engaged, and gives you enjoyment. With the right apps and websites, technology can be your brain and heart exercise partner!
Take the next step
- Visit the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center website to learn more about memory, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Kristin Cahill, LLMSW, develops, implements and evaluates the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center education initiatives, including the U-M Memory Connection service and the MADC website. She is passionate about partnering with those who are experiencing memory changes and their families in an effort to obtain the resources and coping skills that promote their autonomy, dignity and peace of mind.
The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center (MADC) was established at the University of Michigan Health System, through affiliation with the Department of Neurology and aims to conduct and promote research on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders; ensure state-of-the-art care for individuals experiencing cognitive impairment or dementia; and enhance the public’s and health professionals’ understanding of dementia through education and outreach efforts. The infrastructure of the Center stems from a 20-year history as an NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.