Card party, anyone – Seniors benefit from ‘the shuffle’


On multiple levels, card playing can be very beneficial for seniors. Playing card game with others, along with having the value of brain stimulation, have the added bonus of social interaction.  Our activities staff often play cards with residents.  When I work the front desk here in the evenings, I also offer residents the opportunity to stop by for some games of cards. We used to have quite the crowd that would come, necessitating the use of a card table pulled up to the desk and chairs and a stool gathered from all parts of the office. More recently, less people have been coming, which is really too bad since card playing is very beneficial for mental and social stimulation.

Games which stimulate the mind, according to, may slow various forms of dementia.

Furthermore, this same source shares that “games involving acuity, concentration and focus enhance the brain’s capability to utilize and stimulate brain cells, electrical connections and keep neural pathways open and functioning.”

Along with card games, board games, logic and crossword puzzles, etc. can help with mental and cognitive functions, to which helps with reasoning, problem solving, memory, processing and concentration.

According to an article by Stephanie Henkel, “decline in brain power…can be slowed by exercising our brains and challenging our new brain cells with a variety of stimulating activities.” Another interesting point she makes is that “just as our bodies need physical exercises and training to keep fit, so our brains need to be exercised…”

Actually, games that require more skill and strategy are better, such as pinochle, bridge or canasta, according to this same source. Making a periodic effort to learn new games is also suggested, however, I have learned that some people simply often don’t have the motivation or mental capacity for this. One of my favorites doesn’t do a ton for brain stimulation, but is good to keep you moving physically, and that is “spoons.”

Another article on the benefits of card playing adds some additional considerations:

“Cards are portable…” Also, along with the mental advantages, playing cards can help people “improve their fine and gross motor skills” and hand-eye coordination. Another point this article shared is that “shuffling and dealing may help quicken your reflexes.” For those who lack the dexterity, as they age, to hold all their cards easily, I’ve seen rack devices where they can place their cards and which can be very helpful.