Assisting Hands Home Care | Chicago, IL and WI

Our Office Serves:

Call Us at (888) 559-3889 or Submit Contact Form Below

Benefits of Video Games for Older Adults

Benefits of Video Games for Older Adults

Benefits of Video Games for Older Adults

People rarely associate video games, like Nintendo, with senior citizens. But it is important to start doing just that. Playing video games is shown to improve an older adult’s health in numerous ways. Following are the cognitive, emotional, and physical benefits that video games offer the elderly.

Video games involving strategy help improve brain function in seniors. As a result, older adults who play them develop defenses against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The games help improve seniors’ cognitive control, reasoning, and executive functioning, like working memory and brain-organizing skills.

How do video games benefit seniors’ cognition?

Seniors’ cognitive abilities, including memory, benefit when they are exposed to novel stimuli in their environment. Enriched settings, as opposed to sparse ones, generate nerve cells in the brain that are critical to encoding and retrieving memories in studies of mice—but humans experience similar benefits.

Older adults who remain in sparse environments, like the indoors, that lack novel stimuli do not experience these neurological benefits. Viral pandemics and mobility impairments can prevent these seniors from getting out of their homes and into stimulating outdoor settings.

Despite this drawback, even homebound seniors can experience novel environments—albeit virtually. Video games with three-dimensional and novel environments confer significant benefits to the seniors who play them for 30 to 45 minutes per day over a course of several weeks.

Exposure to rich, three-dimensional settings via video games improves cognition. This is especially important for older adults because they are at risk for cognitive decline. Video game interventions are pivotal for seniors who are homebound and unable to experience various, enriching environments.

How do video games improve seniors’ emotional well-being?

Enjoyable activities improve emotional health, and playing video games falls into the category of entertaining leisure activities for many people. Seniors who play them find themselves in a better mood. Elderly gamers experience better well-being and social functioning than non-gamers.

How do video games enhance seniors’ physical health?

A range of important physical benefits are also delivered to older gamers. Video games, like Wii Sports, Beat Saber, and other similar titles, require physical interaction. Playing demands quick decision-making and action, helping the elderly players improve their reflexes, coordination, and balance.

When video games enhance cognition, they also indirectly improve balance and gait. Fitness video games for seniors revolutionize exercise for the older population. Seniors can simply walk through a natural landscape projected onto a screen and experience the physical benefits.

A reduction in falls is also achieved in elderly gamers who train using a treadmill combined with VR (virtual reality). The VR projects their feet onto the screen. The seniors are challenged to step over real-life obstacles to improve their overall balance and strength.

How do video games reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease?

Studies show a link between playing video games and the reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Research has looked into the connections between gaming and tissue growth in the hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with memory and the progression of Alzheimer’s).

Study participants aged 55 to 75 were separated into three groups: gamers, digital piano students, and those who undertook no activity over the course of the study. The gaming group showed a significant increase in hippocampus gray matter compared with the piano and inactive groups.

What are excellent video games for seniors?

A diverse range of video games are available to stimulate seniors. Wii Bowling is favored by many assisted community living residents. The seniors cheer each other on, making it not only a physical activity but a rewarding social activity. Wii Bowling is simply good fun.

Super Mario 3D World is ideal for seniors who long to explore the world but are no longer able to due to mobility issues. Elderly players are given fun objectives, defeat challenges, and collect power-ups. With its multi-player option, seniors can easily bond with other players, like family.

Words with Friends is a vocabulary video game similar in objective to Scrabble. The game is played in real-time but also allows for seniors to leave and return later. Words with Friends is free to play on Facebook; seniors can also download it on Android and Apple devices.

Adventurous seniors find plenty of ways to escape in World of Warcraft. The elderly gamers enter a character’s life, fight monsters, and attempt to complete a mission—all while benefiting from social interactions with other players. This game stimulates the mind in an exploratory way.

The world of video games offers exciting opportunities in health and wellness for the older adult population. Although video games may not be a substitute for real-world stimulation, they are an additional and entertaining way to help improve cognition in seniors.

Just like video games cannot replace real-life adventures, they cannot compare with the quality companion care from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our reputable home care agency provides several non-medical home health care services to enhance the lives of the older adults we serve.

Seniors who receive hands-on companion care are less at risk for isolation, loneliness, and the subsequent depression. We keep our care recipients socially engaged with friendly chats, outings, and games. We are happy to join seniors in their quest to fight monsters in World of Warcraft!

Along with encouraging leisure activities, like video games, our caregivers support seniors with daily activities. We provide discreet help with hygiene tasks, drive them to doctors’ appointments or senior centers, prepare healthy meals, perform light housekeeping, and provide timely medication reminders.

Families and their aging loved ones trust Assisting Hands Home Care for our consistently high ratings and qualified caregivers. Each of our caregiving professionals is licensed, bonded, and insured. Caregivers are trained in CPR and first-aid; they also know how to respond in the event of an emergency.

Seniors are encouraged to play video games for their wellness benefits—and choose Assisting Hands Home Care for the same reason. We support the elderly living in Medinah, IL | Glendale Heights, IL | Itasca, IL | Bensenville, IL | Elmhurst, IL | Villa Park, IL | Addison, IL | Lombard, IL and the surrounding areas. Call us at (630) 526-6522 to schedule a free in-home consult and we’ll develop a customized care plan for compassionate senior home care.