Looking to get out and be social? Want a fun activity to try? We’ve got you covered with our monthly activity article.

Each month we will highlight a different activity or event for grown-ups to get out and try. The idea is to get a group of people together to socialize, have fun, and try something new.

You might think of puzzles as a solitary activity, but we say they offer the perfect excuse to catch up with friends. This month, start a puzzle night where you get together and work on a puzzle as a group once a week.

More than a social activity, your weekly puzzle night will give your brain muscles a boost. In fact, solving puzzles has been found to help reduce the risk, or slow down the effects of, dementia. This is because they help improve reasoning, memory and logic. They offer something psychologists call a “full brain approach” in that they promote a form of synergy between the left and right side of the brain, appealing to both logic and creativity.

Researchers have found that consistent involvement with puzzles improved memory even when the participants were tested an entire year later. Exercising the brain in this way enhances the growth and survival of new neurons in a region of the brain that is essential for long-term memory.

Ready to get started? There are many ways to go about arranging a puzzle night. One person might want to host every week until the puzzle is done. Or it might be a good idea to invest in a puzzle mat, so it can be rolled up and stored as well as carried to different locations. Or simply have a few different puzzles on the go at different homes, switching up where you go each week.

The best part about this is that you are socializing in a relaxed atmosphere. There is no rush to complete the puzzle, it isn’t a competition. Instead, you are talking, laughing and engaging with friends over a shared activity.

If you’d like to find a friend or group of people to socialize with, join Amintro. This social app was designed exclusively for those fifty plus looking to connect with like-minded people who live in close proximity to each other. Membership to Amintro is free and you can register on our website or download the app from the App Store and Google Play. For more Pastime Pursuits follow us on Twitter: @AmintroLiving, or like us on Facebook: AmintroLiving.

By Christine Tompa