Bingo is good for the brain

My husband is a tour bus driver. His destinations vary widely depending on where he is taking the group. Their trips include Disney Land in southern California to  Shakespeare Festival in Oregon. Sometimes it’s somewhere in-between.  Groups will often ride the bus to the theatre, or watch a sports team in the San Francisco Bay Area.

BINGO was their Game-O

Occasionally, he takes a bus full of (usually) ladies to a Bingo night. These Bingo enthusiasts are serious players. The trip takes a few hours, but the bingo games begin in earnest as soon as the first passengers are on the bus. They play bingo all the way to their destination, play for several hours, and continue the game all the way back to where the journey began.

“Bingo enhances cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease”
“Bingo enhances cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease”

He enjoys the bingo run and sometimes even gets roped into filling in for a player while they take necessary breaks. It requires quite a bit of concentration as there are usually a couple dozen cards to keep track of all at the same time.

On one trip, he happened to notice the most fascinating thing: These ladies are sharp! If someone missed a number, and calls out, “What was that last number?” Several begin to recite a long string of recent numbers that had been called.

Bingo is good for the brain

Did I mention that most of the bingo players are 65 + years old? I wondered if there was something about the game of bingo that helped keep the mind tuned up, as it were. I Googled the benefits of bingo, and….bingo! there it was: “New Study Finds Bingo Has Large Benefits on the Aging Mind” 

According to the study, “Loss of visual perception is a common feature of old age (this is most prominent in people with dementia) and that is why Bingo is such a good tool to combat this. It promotes interaction and mental engagement.”  It goes on the state, ”Researchers discovered that large bingo cards with a high contrast increase playing abilities and thinking skills.”

“Bingo enhances cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” wrote researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Boston University.  “The general finding of improved performance across healthy and afflicted groups suggests the value of visual support as an easy-to-apply intervention to enhance cognitive performance.”

You don’t necessarily have to hop on a bus to receive bingo’s benefits since most centers that offer activities for seniors include the game of bingo.

Perhaps it is time to give bingo a try – what do you have to lose?

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