Research has shown that adopting habits and hobbies that promote cognitive stimulation may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other memory-related illnesses. Video games, which require players to utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills through the use of complex controls, can be a fun and engaging way to promote senior well-being. Here are four ways that video games can benefit older adults.
Playtime for adults is integral to well-being – it helps us stay engaged, explore our imagination, and express our creativity. By and large, video games are designed to be fun. What fun means to you or your loved one can vary greatly – but thankfully, there are plenty of genres with varying levels of complexity and difficulty to appeal to a wide range of people. From puzzle games to farming and social sims to globetrotting adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
So, what if your loved one is interested in games but has physical limitations? Game developers have also come a long way in making games more accessible to people of varying abilities. If your loved one has arthritis, sight problems, or hearing impairment, there are options out there that make it easier for them to join in on the fun.
As mentioned, there are a variety of video game genres that require different types of player interaction. This interactivity has been linked to a number of potential cognitive benefits in older adults. For example, action games test a player’s sensory discrimation, “leading to efficient and rapid information processing.” Interacting with a game’s mechanics may help improve the player’s cognitive skills, while also providing a whole lot of fun!
Many games, particularly social sims, are built around the idea of community. This year, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons gained serious attention when the game was released back in March – when suddenly everyone was spending a whole lot of time indoors. The premise of the game finds the player meeting new animal neighbors and building their community. “It feels like company,” said one 88-year-old Animal Crossing fan.
Video games can also connect people through multiplayer fun – be it playing together on the couch or online. Whether that’s challenging your loved one to a friendly race in Mario Kart or collaborating on projects in Minecraft, video games can provide opportunities for bonding and joyous social interaction.
For more tips on helping your loved one live their best life, visit the Brightwater Senior Living blog.