If you think that playing online video games is just for kids, think again. An increasing number of older Americans are becoming “gamers.” In fact, according to a recent study by AARP, video games are booming among people 50 and older. The study revealed that the number of older adults who play video games went from 40.2 million in 2016 to 50.6 million in 2019. And since we’ve all had extra time on our hands due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has assuredly risen even more this year. So if you’re looking for ways to beat boredom, consider challenging yourself with some playtime on your computer or phone screen. Aside from something to fill the time, video games offer the following benefits to seniors:
- A stronger brain: Studies have shown that video games can help to sharpen the memory and cognitive functioning of seniors. In fact, in a University of Montreal study, older adults who played video games five days per week over six months showed an increase in gray matter volume in their brains and in improvement in their short-term memory. They also showed improvement in visual-motor tracking, selective attention, decision-making, hand-eye coordination, and in some cases, even auditory perception.
- Increased socialization: In these times of social distancing, the ability to play video games online offers a new way of interacting with other people. You can play against people you know that you haven’t been able to see in person, or you can play against anyone who happens to be online playing at the same time as you. You may even make a few new friends!
- They’re inexpensive: You don’t need to buy expensive gaming systems like Xbox or Playstation and spend hundreds of dollars on the games that go with them. Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of senior online games available that are absolutely free? These include puzzles, word games, chess, and mahjong, to name a few. You can start out by checking out this article on the best free online senior games.
- They are an activity you can share with young members of your family: Video games have an uncanny ability to lessen the gap between generations. If you’ve been at a loss for finding activities that you can share with your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, video games are the perfect solution. Most can be enjoyed regardless of age, so they can open up new doors for fun interaction with the younger set.
- They’re accessible to those with limited physical ability: Video game can be enjoyed by people with wide ranges of physical ability. For example, those who are confined to a wheelchair can easily play.