sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

4 Surprising Benefits of Crossword Puzzles for Older Adults

By Margaret Manning January 25, 2017 Health and Fitness

Have you ever noticed how the simplest activities can bring you the most pleasure?

Take crossword puzzles, for example. There is something so relaxing about sitting down with a cup of steaming-hot tea to fill in the Sunday crossword puzzle in the newspaper. And, if a biscuit or two happen to escape from their tin and into your mouth, so much the better! After all, when it comes to enjoying simple pleasures, there are no rules!

Well, if you love crossword puzzles, I have good news for you. Your favorite word game isn’t only fun… it is also great for your mind, body and spirit.

If on the other hand you haven’t made crossword puzzles a part of your weekly routine, I hope to give you a few reasons to consider doing so here.

Here are 4 surprising benefits of crossword puzzles for older adults.

When you’re ready to start your next word adventure, please try our Sixty and Me free online crossword puzzles.

Crossword Puzzles Keep Your Brain Sharp and May Help to Prevent Alzheimer’s

The most obvious benefit of doing crossword puzzles is that they help you to build a bigger vocabulary, but, the mental benefits of crossword puzzles go way beyond this.

According to a recent study by the University of California at Berkley, engaging in problem solving activities, such as solving crossword puzzles, can help to protect your aging brain.

As the researchers said, “… lifestyle factors found in individuals with high cognitive engagement (such as doing crossword puzzles) may prevent or slow deposition of beta-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease,”

Crossword Puzzles Can Give You a Nostalgia Boost

When I spoke with Neuroscientist, John Medina, he said that nostalgia was one of the most powerful forces when it comes to maintaining a healthy brain. When we connect with our past, we strengthen neural connections and give ourselves a happiness boost.

Words are powerful. When we search our memory for a particular word or connection, we are forced to go back in time. Think about it. How many times have you remembered an event, person or association, while working on a crossword puzzle? It happens to me all the time!

Want to give yourself an even bigger memory boost? Why not write down the memories that you connect with while working on your next crossword puzzle? You have already had an amazing life and your fun time can become a time for remembering.

Watch my interview with John Medina for more information about the aging brain!


Crossword Puzzles Can Help to Relieve Stress

People tend to think of life after 60 as being a stress-free time. Well, speaking to the other women in our community, I can tell you that this is most definitely not true!

While it is true that most of us are enjoying life in our 60s or better, we still face a number of stresses. Many of us are worried about our financial situations. Others of us are struggling to find meaning now that our social situations are changing. Still others are dealing with medical challenges.

With everything that is going on in our lives, we need to find ways to turn off the noise in our heads and relax. Like meditation and breathing exercises, crossword puzzles can help us to quiet the voices in our heads.

When you sit down to complete a crossword puzzle, you shut out the world and concentrate on the task in front of you.

Studies have shown that, over time, these little breaks from “the real world” can help us to feel happier and calmer. Doing crossword puzzles can also help us to build up the mental reserves to deal with life’s little stresses when they come our way.

Crossword Puzzles Can Keep You Social

Ok, this may seem like a strange benefit. After all, aren’t crossword puzzles supposed to be solved by yourself? Not necessarily! In fact, I love filling out a crossword puzzle with a friend. It’s always surprising to see which answers I know and which ones my crossword puzzle pal can help with.

So, the next time you’re feeling a bit lonely, why not invite a friend over for a cup of tea and a crossword puzzle? Your brain will thank you!

Do you play crossword puzzles? Have you tried our free crossword puzzles game? What else do you do to keep your mind in tip-top shape? Please join the conversation.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

You Might Also Like