MENTAL HEALTH

Games, crafts, other activities may safeguard aging brain

FILE - In this April 10, 2014, file photo, a card player studies her hand during a bridge game at a restaurant in St. Paul, Minn. Research published on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, shows that even in one's 70s and beyond, simple activities including web-surfing, playing bridge and socializing can stave off mental decline. (Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press via AP)

FILE - In this April 10, 2014, file photo, a card player studies her hand during a bridge game at a restaurant in St. Paul, Minn. Research published on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, shows that even in one's 70s and beyond, simple activities including web-surfing, playing bridge and socializing can stave off mental decline. (Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Even in your 70s and beyond, simple activities including web-surfing, playing bridge and socializing may help stave off mental decline.

That's the conclusion of a study released Monday.

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It didn't look at costly, computer-based games that purport to keep the brain sharp. Instead, it found a benefit from activities many seniors have access to: computer use; making crafts; playing games including chess or bridge; and going to movies or other types of socializing.

Those activities appeared to help prevent mild cognitive impairment. That condition involves problems with memory, thinking and attention that don't interfere much with daily life but which increase risks for developing Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.