Intellectually Stimulating

Reading, games, reminiscing, watching history shows on television, and computer time can all be considered intellectually stimulating activities.

It’s important to nourish and exercise the mind, just like the body. Daily doses of intellectual activities are stimulating. Intellectual activities allow us to express opinions, remember, learn something new, and keeps us connected to the outside world. To make these activities successful for an older person, consider the following:

  • Cognitive abilities, attention spans, decision-making skills, and ability to understand and be understood, varies from person to person.
  • Make the activity fun. If an activity isn’t going well, change the activity. If a person cannot sit through a game, play half the game and do something else. In other words, don’t let someone get to the point of frustration.
  • Allow the person to express themselves to the best of their ability. Don’t correct a wrong or different answer. Validate what they are thinking or feeling and go with the flow.

Search the following ideas for intellectually stimulating activities that might work for your older friend or family member.

old letters and pen

Brain Bites – Small Ways to Challenge Your Brain-For Elders

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old radio

6 Things to Discover From Old Time Radio

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leaf

Thanksgiving Story Prompts for Family Gatherings

Here's a game the whole family can play when getting together for Thanksgiving. From elders to children, gather around and summon ...
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circle of stars

Reminiscing About Presidents

It's an election year in the United States. Use these questions for reminiscing about Presidents. If you live in another country, use ...
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Memory Box with tiny items

Tiny Memories Memory Box

Memorabilia comes in all shapes and sizes. Even some of the smallest things like jewelry, pins, and keys can hold memories ...
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heart shaped basket with reminiscing questions

Reminiscing at a Party

Reminiscing at a party? Why not? Having a get-together that includes an older family member? Maybe a birthday party, an ...
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antique irons

5 Minute Reminiscing with a Senior

Reminiscing is an anytime, anywhere, with anyone activity. It doesn't take long to bring forth a memory—an aroma, a touch, ...
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bookshelf and books

Creating a Home Library

Reading is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. Many from our older generation grew up reading books and listening ...
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buffalo in the snow

Webcam Watching

Webcams are a great way to view the world... without really being there. From the comfort of a chair and ...
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blue star

History Lessons

We're never too old for a history lesson. Bring together seven mostly middle-aged men, my dad, and some party food, and what ...
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easter eggs in a bowl

Reminiscing about Easter

 Easter is a special time for many families, and Easter is celebrated in many ways. How has your older family ...
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memory box

World Storytelling Day

World Storytelling Day is celebrated March 20th in the northern hemisphere, but... everyday is a good day for reminiscing and ...
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Shamrock

St. Patrick’s Day Word Scramble

Unscramble these words related to St. Patrick's Day with an older family member RHSII TKCPSIRTA YBENLRA MRKSCHOA URFO FELA EORVLC ...
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Getting Started with Genealogy

Getting Started with Genealogy

The Gift of Genealogy For Christmas this past year my husband gave me the gift of genealogy research: a six ...
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random years

What was the year?

Can you remember the year? Play this trivia game with an older family member or friend. The year Pearl Harbor ...
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Numbers Trivia

How many numbers can you guess? Share this numbers trivia with an older family member or friend and see how ...
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Famous Movie Lines Trivia

Can you or a loved one remember these famous movie lines? Read the first part of the movie line and ...
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Ice crystals on a river

Winter Story Threads

Start a winter story or finish a phrase with an older family member. This is a great family activity, reminiscing activity, ...
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greeting card box, stationery, pen, and glasses

Tips for Planning a Letter Writing Day With an Older Person

It's still exciting to check the mailbox. Even though in today's world we don't receive that many letters or cards ...
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Activities with I Spy Books

I Spy books photographed by Walter Wick with riddles by Jean Marzollo (published by Cartwheel Books® a division of Scholastic ...
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pumpkin on a vine with a drawn in face

Halloween Reminiscing

Reminiscing about Halloween Halloween is a favorite holiday for many. Children and adults alike have dressed up in costumes, gone ...
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Drawing of a house

Using Drawings to Reminisce

Neighborhoods, homes, and bedrooms can be special places in our memories. Places we frequented such as neighbor's homes or stores ...
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pile of books and glasses

September is Library Card Sign-up Month! Sign-up a Senior Loved One

Does your older family member or friend love books, audio books, movies, or magazines? Does she use the library or ...
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Apple and dotted lines

Back to School Word Search

What school words does your older family member or friend remember? What school words were not part of his or her ...
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Greetings with Grandparents

Learning another language may be difficult, but learning some basic greetings can be fun! Teach a grandparent or other older ...
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Feeding Chickens

Reminiscing About Farming and Country Ways of Life

If your loved one has ever been touched by or interested in farming, gardening, or country ways of life, here ...
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Tree

The Family Tree

What better time to start writing down a family tree than during Family Reunion Month (July). While visiting an older ...
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3 Ways to Start a Conversation With an Older Person

Last week I had a post about Tips for Helping an Older Person Join a Conversation. Continuing conversations with a ...
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Tips for Helping an Older Person Join a Conversation

I have always believed our older generation mastered the art of conversation. Some grew up without television, radio, and telephones. Visiting ...
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I love you dad

Reminiscing with Dad

On Father's Day or any day it's always a great time to reminisce with Dad. Here are some topics and ...
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Pink Daisy

Reminiscing with Mom

Could there be something you don't yet know about your mother or grandmother? Here are some questions to choose from for ...
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open book

Great Library Resources for Seniors

Libraries now are so much more than books! They serve many age groups in the community and meet needs using various resources ...
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Geography Quiz

Here are some intellectually stimulating questions for your older family member or friend. The theme is geography. List the seven ...
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daffodils

Spring Reminiscing

Reminisce about spring using the following questions as story starters with your older family member or friend. What was spring ...
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15 Activities To Do On An IPAD

So your older family member or friend has an IPAD, or you are thinking about getting them one. What activities ...
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Snowman

Remembering Winter

Here are some questions to help an older family member or friend remember winters past. What were winters like when you ...
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Wreath

Christmas Trivia

Name 4 other names for Santa Claus. In the story "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore, finish ...
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Turkey plate

Reminiscing about Thanksgiving

Remembering Thanksgiving Holidays of the past. Thanksgiving is a time to remember many traditions of the past. This is a great ...
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Turkey plate

Planning a Thanksgiving Meal With an Older Family Member

Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and plan your Thanksgiving meal with your older family member or friend ...
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Zinio-For Libraries

Zinio Digital Magazines for Libraries, is a way to view magazines digitally on your favorite tech device. You can access Zinio through ...
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jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw Puzzle Pastime

Jigsaw puzzles have been enjoyed by people for many years. Putting a jigsaw puzzle together is a wonderful family pastime ...
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teaspoons on a tea towel with a rooster

Baker’s Quiz

Baker's dozen 8 ounces = ________. Add this to milk to make a substitution for buttermilk. Add this to fruit to keep it ...
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Keeping Loved Ones in Touch

I have an Aunt who is 99 years old and is a resident of a nursing home. Her wonderful family ...
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Sharing a Story

Reading is a simple activity and one that can bring great joy. Some older persons may now need to be read ...
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rocking chair and magazine rack

Favorite Magazines

I love magazines that are filled with colorful pictures as well as rich text. Magazines are wonderful to look at ...
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Game Apps for Long Distance Play

Todays technology makes it possible to play games with someone across the miles. For older family members or friends who ...
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memory box

How to Make a Memory Box

Surround yourself with objects you love: pictures, photographs, knickknacks that you've kept for years, home-made gifts given to you by children ...
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open book with glasses

Re-Read The Classics

If they were readers, many of our older persons might remember the classics. Reading one of the great books together, ...
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pumpkin patch

Autumn Reminiscing

Fall is a season of beautiful color... and a wonderful time to take walks or just sit and relax at ...
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yellow columbine flowers

Summer Reminiscing

Pour some lemonade, sit on the porch and reminisce with your older friend or family member about summers past. Activities ...
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Grandma's shadowbox

Reminiscing with Shadow Boxes

Shadow boxes are a great way to display mementos of people and events in our life. They are a wonderful ...
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tulips in a flower bed

Remembering in the Garden

A garden can stimulate memories from long ago. Spending time in a garden can bring back memories of once having ...
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Bible on a shelf

Chicken Soup and Other Delightful Reads

Someone working in long-term care started a trend of reading Chicken Soup for the Soul® books to their residents many ...
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