How Do Seniors Benefit from Video Games?

Updated on March 31, 2023

When we talk about gamers, seniors are the last age group that comes into our minds. Well, think again! According to 2021 statistics, 16% of gamers are 55 years old and above. 

Moreover, these older groups of “gamers” enjoy many benefits from playing various video games. From virtual reality (VR) games to online casino games that you can play from sites without Swedish licenses, or in Swedish, below are the benefits of playing video games to seniors.

Enhanced Balance

Video games offer physical benefits, especially for seniors. Seniors can improve their reflexes, balance, and coordination because of the action needed and quick decision-making required to play certain games that need physical interaction, such as Wii Sports and other titles. As a result, some seniors who played VR games have reported faster walking speeds.

It may not appear so initially, but improving cognitive skills can lead to better gait and balance. While fitness video games such as the Nintendo Wii and, more recently, the Nintendo Switch have innovated senior exercise, V.R. is already impacting physical therapy. As easy as walking through a landscape playing on the television screen, other recent programs have generated impressive results.

Research has shown that training on a treadmill with V.R. has decreased the seniors’ risk of falling by 42%. Using V.R, participants’ feet were projected onto a monitor next to the treadmill. Then, real-life obstacles were placed for the participant to overcome as part of the exercise to improve strength and balance.

Improved Emotional Health

Going for a walk, seeing a movie, or having lunch with friends, are all excellent ways to improve your emotional health. So it’s not surprising that many seniors who play video games are often in good moods.

According to a study of 140 seniors aged 63 and up, both playing video games regularly and occasionally are reported to be happier, healthier, and have a higher level of social functioning than non-gamers. Furthermore, they discovered that people who play video games are less likely to suffer from depression than non-gamers.

Improved Cognitive Ability

Video games can aid emotional and physical growth and cognitive development. The University of California San Francisco study found that seniors who played 3D video games showed significant improvements in cognitive function, effectively countering signs of aging.

A gamer’s memory, particularly short-term memory, is exercised while playing video games. Even a few minutes of video gameplay can help seniors remember names, dates, phone numbers, addresses, and times better than they would without it. They also require players to switch between tasks quickly, which can help seniors improve their mental flexibility and multitasking abilities.

Furthermore, virtual reality has boosted relaxation, dementia prevention, and social connection. It can also make exercise more enjoyable for seniors who require motivation.

Lesser Risk of Alzheimer’s

Around 5.8 million seniors have Alzheimer’s disease in the United States alone, and treatment options are carefully monitored and highly valued. Surprisingly, recent research has found a relationship between a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and playing video games.

The research looked at the link between playing video games and the growth of tissues in various brain parts, particularly the hippocampus, linked to memory and Alzheimer’s disease progression. The study assigned three groups of elders aged 55 to 75 to different activities: the first group played Super Mario 64 regularly, the second group took digital piano lessons, and the third group did not do anything new for the research period.

Compared to the second and third groups, the gaming group had significantly more hippocampus gray matter. That’s right: video games aided brain exercises for seniors, reducing Alzheimer’s risk factors in ways that learning to play the piano couldn’t.

All These Benefits While Having Fun

Some senior residences use video games, such as Wii Bowling, to improve their patients’ physical and mental conditions. The seniors think it’s fun, and they are cheering for everyone.

Overall, playing video games is one of the best ways to provide seniors with an entertaining way to improve their physical and mental health. Moreover, playing video games with other elders or even younger ages can enhance their social life, especially if they are playing multiplayer games. Some seniors even share their games through live streaming, and they are having tons of fun!

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.