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.

childhood toys and games

Remembering My Childhood

We collect memories our whole life. All of us do. Whether we are a child of five or we’ve lived ...
Read More
Christmas tree in the mountains

Remembering Christmas

Reminisce About Christmas Christmas will soon be here! The Christmas season is the perfect time to spend with an elder ...
Read More
pumpkin with face

Halloween Mad Libs

Mad libs are fun little stories where you fill in the blanks. The fun part is filling in the blanks ...
Read More
old letters and pen

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

Exercising our minds on a daily basis is just as important as exercising our bodies. There are many small ways ...
Read More
old radio

6 Things to Discover From Old Time Radio

Back before cell phones and x-box, before tablets and computers, before cassettes and 8 tracks, and before television was introduced, ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More
circle of stars

Reminiscing About Presidents

Here are some questions for reminiscing about Presidents. If you live in another country, use this as a guide for reminiscing ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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, ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
decorative pattern

Numbers Trivia

How many numbers can you guess? Share this numbers trivia with an older family member or friend and see how ...
Read More

Famous Movie Lines Trivia

Can you or a loved one remember these famous movie lines? Read the first part of the movie line and ...
Read More
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, ...
Read More
flowers and envelopes

Tips for Planning a Letter Writing Day With a Senior

  It's still exciting to check the mailbox. Even though in today's world we don't receive that many letters or ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More
trick or treating ghost

Halloween Reminiscing

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

Greetings with Grandparents

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

The Family Tree

What better time to start writing down a family tree than during Family Reunion Month (July). While visiting an older ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More

Geography Quiz

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

Spring Reminiscing

Reminisce about spring using the following questions as story starters with your older family member or friend. What was spring ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More

Remembering Winter

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

Christmas Trivia

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

Reminiscing about Thanksgiving

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

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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More

Sharing a Story

Reading is a simple activity and one that can bring great joy. Some older persons may now need to be read ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More

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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
open book

Re-Read The Classics

If they were readers, many of our elders might remember the classics. Reading one of the great books together, whether ...
Read More
pumpkin patch

Autumn Reminiscing

Fall is a season of beautiful color... and a wonderful time to take walks or just sit and relax at ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More