“Video games” probably isn’t your first thought when you’re trying to figure out a fun new activity to try out as a senior. However, you might be surprised to learn that playing video games has become an increasingly popular pastime for older adults. Video game consoles are quickly becoming more accessible and easier for seniors to use and understand. You might also be surprised to learn that playing video games can have a variety of positive effects for seniors. Careage has researched some of the ways that video gaming can help improve seniors’ moods and overall health.
Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong and Asteroids. Games like Wii Sports and 1-2 Switch encourage players to stand up and get active as they simulate activities like bowling, baseball, and even sword fighting. These games not only provide low-intensity exercise, but can also help improve balance and coordination reducing the risk of a fall.
Better Mental Health
It might not seem like playing video games, of all things, could improve mental health, but studies have shown that playing video games regularly can help improve seniors’ well-being and lower rates of depression. Even if you aren’t getting up and moving while playing a video game, doing something that stimulates your mind and gets you to move your hands is better for you than sitting and watching T.V. Games like Animal Crossing are simple, fun, and can give you something to look forward to each day.
Better Dexterity & Fine Motor Skills
While high-intensity games with quick reaction times might not be your cup of tea, even simple games that use any sort of controller can help preserve motor skills and improve dexterity. If you suffer from arthritis, you may struggle to use a traditional controller, but you still have the option of virtual-reality games or action games like Dance Dance Revolution, which don’t use traditional handheld controllers.
Opportunities to Connect & Be Social
Video games are much more interactive than they used to be, and because they are popular with young people, they are great for bonding with grandchildren or other younger family members. The aforementioned Wii Sports and 1-2 Switch are designed to be played with two or more people, so the more the merrier. You can invite friends and neighbors over to try out some games, and even make it a social occasion with food and drinks. Or you can play interactive games with friends across the country and chat with them through a headset.
Newer technology can sometimes be daunting for seniors, but we hope we’ve encouraged you to give gaming a try. For more information and ideas for great activities for seniors, check out Careage’s blog.