January is National Brain Teaser Month

Housing-for-Seniors-FamilyVisiting-Options, brain teaser

Brain Teaser Month:  Teasing your brain keeps it foolproof. No kidding.

The phrase “Use it or lose it” is a cliché. But it’s only a cliché because it’s true. If we don’t exercise our muscles as we age, we lose muscle tone. Likewise, if seniors don’t exercise their mind, the mind becomes weaker as well. What better reason to celebrate international brain teaser month than to exercise that brain every day and keep it sharp.

Whether you’re a senior or a caregiver for a senior loved one, there are numerous brain games you can play to keep your brain strong. You can play solitaire, card matching games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or even watch TV game shows that allow you to solve the puzzles before the contestant. You can also try brain teasers online. Try Crazy Circles or Flash Count, for example.

As a way to celebrate International Brain Teaser Month, The Daily Sun News provides the following quiz about Social Security. Test your brain. See if you know the answers:

Brain Teasers:

  1. When was the Social Security Act signed into law, and who signed it?
  2. Who received the very first Social Security check? (Careful - this may be a trick question!)
  3. When did Social Security begin paying disability benefits?
  4. Who received the first monthly Social Security check? (Not the same person as in question number two!)
  5. When did Social Security begin paying Supplemental Security Income benefits, or SSI?
  6. Is there any significance to the digits in your Social Security number - or are they just random?


  1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. In fact, there’s even a picture of it at www.socialsecurity.gov.
  2. The first person to receive a Social Security payment was Ernest Ackerman. But he did not receive a monthly benefit. During the start-up period of Social Security, between January 1937 and December 1939, people who paid into the system received a lump-sum payment when they retired. Mr. Ackerman got a whopping lump-sum payment of 17 cents. Not bad considering he only contributed a nickel.
  3. Although there were discussions about disability benefits between Congress and the White House as early as 1936, Social Security disability benefits did not become law until 1956. Learn more about how disability benefits can help at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
  4. Ida May Fuller was the first person to receive a regular monthly Social Security payment. Her monthly payment was more than Ernest Ackerman’s lump sum. Beginning on Jan. 31, 1940, she received $22.54 each month. She collected benefits (with no payment increase for the first ten years) until she passed away at the age of 100, in 1975.
  5. Social Security began making SSI payments in 1974. SSI pays benefits to people who have low income, limited resources, and who are 65 or older, disabled, or blind. Learn more about how SSI can help at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi.
  6. Whether the digits in your Social Security Number have any meaning depends on when it was originally issued to you. Until June 2011, the first three digits were assigned based on the geographical region in which the person resided. Generally, numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving westward. So people on the east coast have the lowest numbers and those on the west coast have the highest numbers. The remaining six digits in the number are more or less random and facilitated the manual bookkeeping operations that began with the creation of Social Security in the 1930s. As of June 2011, all numbers are randomly assigned without regard to region.

Alternatives for Seniors is a print and online directory that specifically caters to the housing and personal care concerns of senior citizens and their families since 1992. Call our Senior Specialists at (888) WE-ASSIST (888-932-7747) or visit the Alternatives for Seniors website to begin searching for the perfect home for you or your loved ones. Also, be sure to join our Facebook community and follow us on Twitter.

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BLOG Date: January 27, 2014

Writer: Ryan Allen