Many of us younger boomers grew up playing video games starting with the first Atari pong game as preteens. We then advanced to become pinball wizards and Pac-Man fiends in high school. After we conquered the galaxy, we moved onto the world of Mario often joining in with our own kids.
Usually our parents asked us why we were wasting our time sitting on the couch in front of our favorite games instead of going outside in the sunshine. Today the video game industry has made its way into the mainstream and seniors have come aboard with us. Virtual games are affordable and entertaining!
Seniors have found out what we always knew—video games are great fun and mentally stimulating.
Seniors have started their own craze playing games. Wii has found its way into our homes and senior centers and even nursing homes across the country.
Grandma loves to bowl and grandpa loves to golf using their Wii. Seniors challenge their grandkids to tournaments and you would be surprised who is the champion!
But all the fun aside, using video games has shown remarkable health benefits for the world’s seniors.
Seniors recovering from stroke have used Wii video games and other virtual game systems to improve arm strength and regain physical function. According to a recent study, playing virtual reality games improved upper arm strength by 14.7 % and motor function, the ability to perform standard tasks, by 20%.
Not only can seniors improve their physical function, but they are also increasing their opportunities for socialization. Research links video game playing with improved cognitive skills and memory as the brain is challenged especially with the more complex games.
In addition to video game systems, boomers are also interacting online via gaming and play with people of all ages. It is estimated that 71% of the people playing online video games are older than 40, 47% are older than 50, and 76% are women.
There are many video game systems and even online games from which you can choose. We like the Wii and have included a link below for you to check it out. For more options check out your local – or online – store, or maybe just ask a kid! (click on links for additional information and quick purchase):
Let’s all have some fun while we play and we won’t let the fact that it can improve our health stop us!
What games do your senior loved ones or friends (or even you) enjoy? Please leave a comment and share them with our community.