Everyone benefits from playtime, not just the young. Having fun releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can act as pain-relievers and happiness boosters. Playing games (think of puzzles or board games) is like exercise for the brain, specifically the memory, language, attention, and spatial abilities.

There are lots of options for people to play games and reap these benefits, even during this period of continuing social distancing, which is especially important for folks 65 and older. Bridge players, for example, can visit websites that offer online games; bridgebase.com is one that facilitates existing groups and helps players find new people to play with. AARP.com has a webpage devoted to online games in a variety of categories, such as words, numbers, Mahjongg and more; the beauty of online games is that your computer opponent is always ready for a game and never asks to take a break.

Some board games are known for being fun for just two players, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, which is good news for small households. And jigsaw puzzles have been extremely popular recently, perhaps because the concentration required diverts the mind from current events. So if you haven’t recently, add some playtime to your daily routine.

Lili Schroppe