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Playing mind games

Keeping your mind active helps you stay alert. We look at the best online games and apps to keep you busy.

Although all the facts are not in, there is evidence to support the idea that keeping your mind active can also help stave off the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Games and puzzles are not only good for passing the time, but they might actually be beneficial to your ageing brain.

So, we’ve run down some of the best online games and app options for keeping your mind active.

1. Luminosity

This series of brain games, online and in app form, promises to help your memory, attention and problem solving. Rather than just one game, this is a series of cognitive training exercises designed to stimulate your creative thinking through puzzles and word searches. It offers greater variety than a lot of brain games that are just variations on the one theme.

2. Calm

Calm is slightly different in that it offers mindfulness, to help you concentrate and be present. You get daily calming sessions to help you relax and unwind, and the app is credited with offering some people a deeper and better sleep. We particularly loved having American actor Matthew McConaughey read us bedtime stories.

3. Words With Friends

Basically a version of online Scrabble, on Words With Friends you can play against other users online, compete against the computer, or practise making words on your own until you are ready to compete. You can chat to other players and the app matches you up with people who are of a similar skill set. Download and start aiming for those triple word scores.

4. Wordscapes

Another word game, Wordscapes presents you with a circle of letters and you have to join them up to make different words. As you make the words they appear in a crossword above the letters, so you know how many words you have to make. There are in-app purchases for tips and hints, but you don’t really need them; the games are not too hard, though they are a bit hypnotic. A great game for playing on your own.

5. Candy Crush Saga

This game was a bit of a sensation a few years back. It may seem silly matching up lollies so they can disappear, but it teaches the mind to find patterns in things and can really be a challenge once you get to the higher levels.