Monopoly, Scrabble, Scattergories, Clue, card games, BINGO or chess, which is your favorite?

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve played a game. If so, it’s time to blow the dust off your Uno deck and start playing.

Playing games taps into something called your cognitive reserve. People with a large cognitive reserve can be less susceptible to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Board games stimulate the brain in a number of ways. Playing a game stimulates cognitive performance and leads to improved memory and executive function. It also provides you with social engagement that protects your brain and makes you happier.

Playing games once a week can reduce your risk for dementia by up to 15%! As an added bonus, it also reduces the risk of depression. The brain and mood boosting effects of board games are immediate—and they’re also long lasting. Cognitive benefits of board games have been observed to last 10-20 years.

Call a friend, a cousin or a neighbor and invite them over to play a game this week. Don’t have any games at home? Have your game partner meet you at your local library where you can play a number of games for free. Just ask the librarian to point you to the games.