Benefits of playing video games for seniors
With more than two and a half billion gamers in 2020, the number steadily rising since the release of the first video game in 1958, one can be quite concerned about the negative effects of video games, especially when it comes to such a susceptible category as adults. Indeed, there’s a fine line between playing to live and living to play that you won’t want to cross. Whether senior, adult or adolescent, you might not even notice the increasing role of games in your life up to the moment of spending hours and days gaming, ignoring usual routines, and becoming more and more absorbed by the virtual world that, by some unfortunate reasons, would be more appealing than the real one.
Yes, gaming addiction is a real and well-recognized problem – the World Health Organization defines ‘Gaming Disorder’ as a condition of mental health for about 3–4% of the gamers. But don’t rush to hit the panic button – not only the average age of a gaming addict, 24, might play for your granny or grandpa, but also the very fact that in many senses, video games are good for the body-mind health of our beloved seniors.
Just like regular drugs – if prescribed and taken in the right dosage – gaming is a win-win for the inner and outer worlds of a senior. And there are at least four reasons that prove that. Either you are a senior or a loving offspring, you can help your elderly kins to start and control their gaming and maybe even write one of those success stories when seniors did nail gaming and changed their lives in a remarkable way. So, without further ado, let’s take a close look at the main gaming pros to start taking advantage of right now.
The Best Entertainment from the Comfort of Your Home
Weak muscles and joints, work injuries, repercussions of bad habits, and other age-related problems make seniors reluctant to long walks and much eager to spend their free time puttering around their homes or gardens at best. And there’s nothing to blame them for – believe it or not, ‘active lifestyle’ isn’t that effervescent when it takes ages of struggling against the knee pain to get to the nearby park bench.
That said, as our body ages and quick movements turn into the reminiscences of the unabashed youth, gaming – along with casino games and lookalike entertainments that require no physical effort (only unimpaired vision and usually, the ability to tap the keyboard) – comes into play for those of us willing to step our games up! Not too high requirements for hours of fun, brain activity, and – as a result – a brand-new, refreshed mindset, huh? Unlike outdoor activities, gaming is available to almost anyone and from everywhere, anytime.
Socialization: Building New Connections
Doing things from the comfort of our homes is time-saving, comfortable, and easier in some ways; however, only with age do we realize that long seclusion impairs our social skills, especially in seniors. On the other hand, totally deprived of moth-eaten age stereotypes gaming can be a real savior to every senior willing to shake things up: new friends, acquaintances, and pleasant strangers to chitchat with are nothing but a health pill for anyone suffering from loneliness.
Mind-Body Tuner: Quick Multitasking
As you watch the story unfolding on the screen of your device and react to it, you activate the coordination and the decision-making systems so that your mind and body can respond to what’s going on in the best way possible. And that’s a big deal for seniors, especially those on the border of or prone to mental diseases. The urge for a fast and accurate response – the kind of one expected from a gamer in the prime of life – literally forces seniors to act as if they are in full vigor and eventually, they feel and act like they are!
A little less than half the people aged 65 or older have age-associated memory impairment, which leads to dementia in about 1% of cases. But the sad numbers are much better for seniors involved in constant learning: it’s proved that mastering languages and getting new experiences are the best ways to keep your memory in shape.
Having a strong motivational and result-oriented background, gaming is a brilliant brain-stimulating activity that keeps seniors on the crest of a wave of sanity and mental health, and this is especially true if they regularly change the games they indulge in favor of even more creative out-of-the-box solutions.
Photo: Glenn Carstens-Peters, Unsplash