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5 Benefits of Playing Video Games in the Senior Years

By Jonathan Wells, 9:00 am on

Most people think of video games as a distraction for kids and young adults, and many would argue these games offer zero benefits for anyone. However, research is proving video games can actually be a healthy pastime for people over 65. The Douglas County elderly home care professionals at Home Care Assistance examine 5 of the top benefits video games offer the elderly.

1. Prevents Falls

Falls can be especially devastating for seniors because they have a much higher risk of breaking bones. With the right attachments and add-ons, many video games can enhance a senior’s balance in a safe and controlled environment. For instance, the Nintendo Wii Balance Board is a small device that monitors a player’s movements when he or she stands on it.

2. Reduces the Risk of Chronic Depression

Seniors tend to suppress their emotions as they grow older, including feelings of depression. When left untreated, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, weight fluctuations, and a weakened immune system. A 2011 study conducted at East Carolina University found regularly playing video games could have a positive impact on a senior’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.

3. Provides Sports Activities for Those with Limited Mobility

Just because a senior has limited mobility or dexterity does not mean he or she needs to give up favorite sports. There are now hundreds of different video games that let gamers play sports, ranging from football to Frisbee. Some of these games even track real-time movements to control the avatar.

4. Decreases the Risk of Cataracts

A cataract is a clouded eye lens that affects vision and can result in total blindness if left untreated. Even though cataracts can be removed, they often permanently impair vision. During a lecture at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference, Dr. Daphne Maurer claimed playing video games for just 40 hours a year can reduce a person’s risk of cataracts and even reverse age-related macular degeneration.

5. Increases Mental Acuity

Researchers have known for many years that stimulating activities like board games can be highly beneficial to seniors in the initial stages of dementia. However, video games are another excellent way for seniors to boost their analytical skills and test their hand-eye coordination. The Alzheimer’s Association has released a number of games specifically for seniors interested in learning about new technology.

Playing video games is just one activity that can help boost a senior’s brain health. At Home Care Assistance, we offer a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which uses stimulating activities to slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. In addition to Alzheimer’s and dementia care Douglas County, CO, seniors can count on, we also offer flexible respite and live-in care services. For more information, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 720-287-1685 today.