25 Brain Boosting Products To Keep Your Mind Sharp

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Products to Improve Brain Function TOUT

Health / Reese Herrington

In response to the news of Bruce Willis’ diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), there has been a lot of discussion around dementia, the wide-range of forms it can take (such as Alzheimer’s and FTD),and the impact cognitive decline can have on individuals and their loved ones.

Luckily for Willis, his family has been a huge source of support for the actor, 67, as they work to ensure he receives the care he needs. "The focus for Bruce is to keep him active. He has a busy schedule with activities every day. They make sure both his body and brain is exercised," a family source tells People.

This emphasis on staying active—both physically and mentally— is incredibly important for anyone as they age, but especially for those who have already exhibited signs of cognitive decline.

“Dementia is characterized by plaque buildup which impairs various parts of the brain responsible for cognitive function,” Nancy Mitchell, a registered nurse with over 37 years of experience in geriatric nursing care, explains to Health. “Studies show that brain games and thinking activities may help keep these brain cells active and stimulated, thus slowing the progression of cognitive decline.”

In addition to a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, fresh air, exercise, and socializing with others, the following items can help boost brain function for anyone looking to improve their cognitive skills.

Brain Teasers

Fat Brain Toys 399 Games Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young

Fat Brain Toys

Just as you would exercise your body to keep in shape physically, you must continue to exercise your mind. Brain teasers, word-search puzzles, and other games specifically designed for those with cognitive impairment are all great options for giving your brain a good “workout.” 

Board and Card Games

Hasbro Yahtzee


Just like brain teasers, board and card games stimulate the mind in a way that is both entertaining and beneficial for boosting cognitive function.

“Cards open an opportunity for seniors to socialize with friends and family,” says Mitchell. “Group activities encourage patients to exercise the faculties responsible for controlling speech and motor skills. 

“Most people view dementia as a physiological issue, but it also impacts the social and emotional wellness of patients. Beyond the physical benefits of games, they also provide patients with a distraction from the worries that come with cognitive decline. They need a break from focusing on themselves every once in a while.”

Adult Puzzles

Relish - Dementia Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults, 100 Piece Great Outdoors Puzzle


Studies have shown that jigsaw puzzles can have a positive effect on cognitive function, with benefits including better problem-solving skills and improved visual-spatial reasoning. Additionally, they’re known to help improve mood and lower stress levels, both of which are important when managing anxiety due to cognitive decline. Just be sure to work your way up, starting with puzzles that have fewer, larger pieces to prevent undue frustration. 

Pickleball Set

Asbocer Pickleball Paddles, USAPA Approved Pickleball Paddles


Pickleball is a very popular racquetball sport among seniors because it is a low-impact aerobic workout that’s fun without being overly taxing. And like exercise in general, studies show regular practice of pickleball not only helps improve physical stamina but cognitive function, as well. All you need to get started is to learn the rules, grab a friend, and invest in a simple pickleball set like this one by Asbocer.

To buy: Asbocer Pickleball Set $47 (was $70); amazon.com 

Guided Meditation

headspace Be kind to your mind


Depression and anxiety are common symptoms of dementia, especially among patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” explains Mitchell. “Patients progressing through dementia are sometimes irritable, which is understandable, given all the unprecedented changes they’re experiencing. Meditation may be an excellent tool to help them navigate this stage of life and cope with the resulting emotions that surface.”

Though the correlation has not been extensively studied, according to the National Library of Medicine, research suggests that “meditation can enhance various cognitive functions, including attention, memory, and executive function, and that it positively affects brain function and structure relevant to cognition.”

Whether you’re new to meditation or more advanced, a guided meditation app like Headspace can be very helpful. However, it is most helpful for those with mild cognitive decline who can still navigate technology enough to download and use an app regularly. Otherwise, they may need the assistance of caregivers.

To buy: Headspace app $69.99/year; headspace.com

Marble Maze Game

Relish - Marble Maze Track Game - Alzheimer's/Dementia Games


For dementia sufferers whose cognitive impairment is more advanced, something like this marble maze track game is a great option for working on both dexterity and coordination. 

The game has an average rating of 4.3 stars on Amazon with one customer writing, “I purchased this for my father who has Alzheimer's and early Parkinson's Disease. He loves it and carries it around with him everywhere. He likes to show people that he can do the maze and is excited to teach other people how it works. It was a much better gift than expected!” 

To buy: Relish Marble Maze Track Game $30; amazon.com


Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition


Reading is a universally beneficial hobby and frequent reading is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Whether it’s a romance novel, a mystery, or a biography the topic doesn’t matter as long as you’re exercising your mind. 

An e-reader like Amazon’s Kindle allows readers access to thousands of books without needing to leave the home. Plus, for those with visual impairments, they can adjust the brightness level and font size as needed.

To buy: Kindle Paperwhite 2023 Signature Edition $190 (includes 3 months of Kindle Unlimited); amazon.com

Language Tools

Learn Spanish For Adult Beginners: 3 Books in 1: Speak Spanish In 30 Days!


“Language learning is an excellent technique to combat the effects of certain types of dementia,” says Mitchell. “For example, frontotemporal dementia—thought less common—affects the frontal and temporal lobes, which play fundamental roles in language comprehension and speech processing. Active language learning may preserve the health of cells in these regions, prolonging the cognitive abilities of patients with this form of the disease.”

Weighted Blanket

Casper Weighted Blanket


Plus, it’s safe for elderly patients. (For more weighted blanket options, we tested and reviewed the 9 best weighted blankets of 2023.)

To buy: Casper Weighted Blanket, 20lbs $99 (was $189); casper.com

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Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fissler P, Kuster O., Loy L, et al. Jigsaw Puzzles As Cognitive Enrichment (PACE) - the effect of solving jigsaw puzzles on global visuospatial cognition in adults 50 years of age and older: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2017; 18:415. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-2151-9

  2. Wray P, Ward C, Nelson C, et al. Pickleball for Inactive Mid-Life and Older Adults in Rural Utah: A Feasibility Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Aug; 18(16): 8374. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18168374

  3. Gard T, Holzel B, Lazar S. The potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline: a systematic review. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan; 1307: 89–103. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12348

  4. Telhede E, Arvidsson S, Karlsson S, Ivarsson A. Weighted Blankets’ Effect on the Health of Older People Living in Nursing Homes. Geriatrics. 2022 Aug; 7(4): 79. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics7040079

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