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Best brain training apps for seniors

Elderly woman using her mobile phone

There's an app for almost anything these days and the wellness industry is awash with them. Specifically, brain training apps. Many of these apps are said to keep minds sharp as you age. However, the efficacy of many of these tools is untested.

In creating this list, we used a study of apps that looked at the evidence-based claims made by 18 brain training programs. The study found that seven of those programs claims of efficacy were supported by evidence and ranked these three into three categories: Level one, Level two and Level three. We rounded out the top 10 with three other popular brain training programs.

So, if you're looking to keep your faculties as sharp as possible as you get older these 10 apps may help you hone your mind.

1. CogniFit Brain Fitness

The CogniFit Brain Fitness app is designed to improve a user's cognitive health by administering a range of training programs. You can track and chart your progress and see which areas are in need of improvement. CogniFit also offers specific training programs designed for people 55 and older.

Best of all, a study looking at the scientific claims made by brain training apps found that Cognifit met its highest standards.

Cognifit is available on both Android and iOS.

Download the App: Apple-app-store or

2. BrainHQ

BrainHQ is an online brain training app created by a team of international neuroscientists. The apps asks users to solve problems and adapts the its level of difficulty based on the user. It is also one of two apps on this list that met the highest standards of the study of brain training apps.

BrainHQ is available online and in both the App Store and Google Play.

Download the App: Apple-app-store or

3. MyBrainTrainer

Billed as the "world's first and best virtual mental gymnasium", MyBrainTrainer gives its users the ability to strengthen their minds through various short and challenging exercises.

MyBrainTrainer was one of three brain training tools that fell into the second category and is available to download from the MyBrainTrainer website.

4. Brain Age 2

Brain Age 2 is a Nintendo DS game which gets players to take a test to determine their brain's age before they start playing. Through playing the game over time the user sharpens their mind and reduces their brain's age.

Brain Age 2 was the second of three brain training tools that fell into the second category and can be bought online through retailers such as Amazon.

5. Cogmed

Cogmed is designed to help a user improve their memory through a range of programs. Unlike other brain training apps, Cogmed says it's scientifically backed, offers sustainable change and even offers users the support of a qualified coach.

Cogmed was the third of the three programs ranked in the second group and is available for both Apple and Android.

Download the App:

6. Dakim

Dakim programs use memory games to help users improve through proven cognitive exercises. Dakim BrainFitness even offers a program that was designed specifically for people baby boomers.

Dakim is one of two programs that fell into the third category and can be accessed on iPads, Macs and PCs.

Download the App: Apple-app-store

7. Lumosity

Lumosity is probably the most well-known brain training program, with over 90 million people using its 40+ brain games and activities worldwide. Luminosity offers a series of fun and challenging games to help you work on your memory, attention, problem-solving, processing speed and flexibility of thinking.

Lumosity was one of two apps that fell into the third category of the study and is available from both Google Play and the App Store.

Download the App: Apple-app-store or

8. Peak

Peak is a free* app provides more than 40 fun games to help you exercise your brain. Peak is designed to improve your memory, sharpen your problem-solving skills and develop your mental agility.

While Peak has been developed by neuroscientists and the Coach feature offers in-depth insights to help you track your progress, it was not part of the seven apps highlighted in the study.

However, Peak has a 4.6 rating from 9.6K reviews in the App Store and a 4.4 rating from 325.1K Android reviews.

Download the App: Apple-app-store or

9. Elevate

Elevate is a free* brain training app with more than 40 fun games to help you improve your cognitive skills. You can use the app to develop a personalised brain training program that focuses on skills such as memory, focus, processing speed, maths and comprehension.

Again, while Evaluate was also not one of the apps highlighted by the study the app provides detailed performance tracking and also features adaptive difficulty progression to ensure that you are always being challenged.

Elevate has a 4.7 rating from 8.3K reviews in the App Store and a 4.5 rating from 282.6K Android reviews.

Download the App: Apple-app-store or

10. Duolingo

While it's not a brain training app per se (and goes without saying not one of the apps highlighted in the study), Duolingo still provides a rigorous challenge for your grey matter. It uses fun and engaging mini-games to help you grasp the basics of another language, including French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian and many more. Available on iOS and Android devices.

Download the App: Apple-app-store or

Looking for more? See brain training app features side by side

AppRating ‎CostiPhoneiPad
CogniFit Brain Fitness3.7Free*YesYes
Mind Games4.4Free*YesYes
*Free to download. Offers in-app purchases such as upgrades to paid monthly services.

Picture: GettyImages

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