I am sure many of you have screamed at kids to stop playing video games because it is bad for them. We believe that video games take time away from healthy real world interactions with their friends and keep kids indoors way too much. But did you know that playing video games is actually proven to be good for seniors?
- A study conducted in 2013 in North Carolina State University showed that playing video games have a positive impact for seniors in terms of improved general well-being, reduced depression, and improved social functioning. The study noted that both regular and occasional gamers benefit compared to non-gamers. The report also suggests that gaming can be a positive part of successful ageing and it may just take an hour or so each day to reap the benefits.
- Video games that offers some cognitive training can also slow down degradation of balance and improve gait — bottom line is that it can help in fall prevention for seniors. The study showed measurable results among seniors playing video games for an hour a day three times a week after 10 weeks. Seniors who play video games that influence cognitive processes in the brain can expect improvements in physical functioning – including balance and gait.
- In a study conducted in 2013 at the University of California San Francisco, it was demonstrated that “by playing an adaptive version of NeuroRacer in multitasking training mode, older adults (60 to 85 years old) reduced multitasking costs compared to both an active control group and a no-contact control group, attaining levels beyond those achieved by untrained 20-year-old participants, with gains persisting for 6 months. “ The results shows that playing the 3D-video games can have the effect of reversing the signs of cognitive decline due to ageing – and in some ways, comparable to those much younger in age. Attention span and memory have been shown to improve.
Apart from pure entertainment and fun, there are good reasons why seniors should consider trying out video gaming to help them slow down some of the effects of mental and physical decline due to ageing. All it takes is a $100 tablet to get started — since most of the games are available for free anyway! Ask you grandchildren how to get started.