16% of the world’s gaming population is made of individuals over 55 years of age. Out of this, those above 65 years make up 7%, as of August 2021, according to Statista. Studies found that 40% of gamers aged 65 years and above enjoy playing video games and getting a TrueBlue casino bonus.
However, fun and passing time isn’t the only the older generation is reaping from video games. Studies show that video games can improve the overall health status of the older generation, ensure better social interactions and connectivity, improve mental, body balance, and mobility levels. Here are some of the beneficial factors that seniors derive from playing video games.
- Better perception, memory, and spatial navigation;
- Enhanced emotional capability and health;
- Better mobility and body balance;
- A drop in Alzheimer cases;
- Playing video games is fun.
Better Perception, Memory, and Spatial Navigation
Macquarie University research study highlights that regular gaming activities for seniors aid in developing and growing specific parts of the brain. The research found that playing games helps increase the “Grey Matter” and ensures “Brain Connectivity.” The grey matter is a section of the brain that helps with individual perception of various items or one’s surroundings, memory capabilities, focus and concentration, and spatial navigation.
The University of California in San Francisco conducted a similar study but changed the games to 3D video games. The results were an improved cognitive ability that reverses the signs of aging, such as memory loss. The research concluded that video games add spice to the senior’s life and help exercise one’s memory. Regular gameplays for seniors can help them remember important details about their lives, including time, phone numbers, actual dates, names, or even family members’ home addresses. Plus, the seniors gain the ability to make decisions fast depending on the game’s outcomes, a feature the seniors transfer into real life. VR Scout also reports that virtual reality also aids the seniors in developing relaxation practices that help reduce impacts associated with dementia.
Enhanced Emotional Capability and Health
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Oxford University researched individuals playing video games and their mental health. The study concluded that individuals who played video games regularly or for longer periods had better mental health. The factors behind the well-being of the individuals came from video games helping deal with physical and mental stress. At the same time, video games provide an interactive platform. Video games aren’t isolating, as considered by many. Today, you can communicate, have a conversation and compete with other individuals from varying places in the world.
Seniors can tackle loneliness, learn about new cultures and meet other people online through video games. Plus, online meetings improve social skills, help create social groups, better collaboration during a game and provide a network to learn each other’s behaviors better. Moreover, the continuous interactions and better social functioning in video games, according to a study on ScienceDirect, lowers the number of individuals suffering from depression. Therefore, “seniors finding the time and resources that allow them to play video games helps improve their moods by a wide margin,” says one of the directors from homes for the elderly.
Better Mobility and Body Balance
Seniors find “Exergames,” a video game genre that provides games dedicated to helping individuals partake in regular workouts while having fun and overcoming hurdles. The games require a specific degree of physical interactions where individuals can walk for distances with small hurdles like “pools of water” or “stones on the pathway!” Seniors have to jump or navigate around the obstacle and continue with the journey. The game tests both physical capability and endurance levels, plus improves an individual’s decision-making process. Elderly individuals have to decide how to handle the presented obstacle within seconds, depending on the game’s speed at hand!
“If playing virtual reality game genres like Nintendo Ring Fit, one improves on not only cognitive capability but also gait and body balance. One, the virtual reality video game provides the right landscapes for a walk or run. Plus, players, i.e., the elderly, do not require space movement as the game retains them in the right position. However, one does feel the impacts of partaking in a video game involving physical interactions. One of the successful studies shows that a 42% drop in seniors falls after a workout routine that combined virtual reality video games and a treadmill. The elderly were able to handle real-life hurdles by jumping over, going around while maintaining their gait and balance!
A Drop in Alzheimer Cases
In the United States, over 5.5 million people have Alzheimer’s and other memory-related diseases. Therefore, it is a disease that receives ample attention in the form of research funds for a successful treatment means or a way to reduce its impacts or risk factors. One of the studies conducted recently revealed a connection between reduced risk factors for Alzheimer’s and regular exposure to video games. The study concluded that patients exposed to regular video game sessions had significant growth in the hippocampus. It is the brain area associated with your memory and affected by Alzheimer’s. The study group was of individuals aged between 55 to 75 years.
Daphne Bavalier, a neuroscientist and researcher, highlights that the brain is an organ that is constantly changing, adapting, and learning. Therefore, exposure to video games such as action-based titles helps improve cognitive functionalities. Furthermore, the development helps beat any medical condition arising in the brain, including Alzheimer’s. In other words, video games can help an individual learn, store and retrieve information from the brain much faster and efficiently!
Playing Video Games is Fun
Laughter is a successful treatment for many disorders in this world. Even though we do not encourage gambling, imagine earning top casino bonuses and several wins at a go after playing your favorite slots game? Who wouldn’t be happy? Katie, another senior resident manager in Missoula Montana, says,” the elderly loves partaking in video games at any time of the day. If you walk across the village and homes, you will find them laughing and edging each other on. In other words, they think gaming is fun!” however, enjoyment of the game is dependent on one’s capability to play it. Therefore, we encourage the elderly to play a non-competitive match, highlighting the benefit of cheering for each other and socializing during the game. The fun delivers on a range of benefits, including better emotions, physical and mental growth, among others.
Video games for seniors have several benefits. Some of the best include better mobility, body balance, enhance cognitive capabilities such as memory retention, reduced risks factors for Alzheimer’s, and many more. Studies provide ample support for the benefits brought forth, and including them in your treatment routine may prove beneficial to the elderly. Try them today!
Main Photo by MART PRODUCTION.