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Here's why your grandma should play video games too

Here's why your grandma should play video games too

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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Gaming has become a mainstream form of entertainment with more than 1.8 billion people around the world plugged into their preferred controls and consoles.

People often think gaming is a trend for the younger generations — especially young, teenage boys. However, 41 percent of gamers are female and the average gamer is 35 years old. In fact, a large percentage of gamers are over 50 years old. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, older adults are becoming more engaged in the gaming world.

Video gaming has evolved through the years, and studies now show it can benefit the body, mind and overall health — especially for older adults and seniors.

Benefits of gaming for older adults

In addition to being fun, studies show that gaming can improve cognitive ability. As people begin to age, video gaming is a great way to improve memory, focus and vision. Gaming has also been used as a pain management and physical therapy tool.

Older adults can game for their own personal entertainment or to connect with their younger family members or friends. Gaming encourages interaction with others and can even help older adults become familiar with the latest technology.

How seniors can get started with video games

Seniors interested in gaming can start by purchasing a gaming system. It's important to choose the right system based on need, skill and interest level. A report by Medicare Health Plans dives into the best games for seniors. Each game on the list was chosen based on physical activity, cognitive challenge and social interaction.

Beginner games include Super Mario Run, Rayman Legends and Wii Sports Resort. Those looking for games for intermediate players may want to look into Pokemon Go, Legend of Zelda and Stardew Valley while more expert players should check out World of Warcraft, Hearthstone and Uncharted 4.

Pros and cons of gaming

As with anything in this world, there are pros and cons to video gaming. Some common, positive effects of gaming include:

  • Improved focus and memory
  • Strategic thinking skills
  • Problem solving
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Team work
  • Increased creativity
  • Spatial awareness
However, some common, negative effects include:

  • Isolation
  • Increased violent tendencies
  • Sexism
  • Confusion between reality and fantasy
  • Addiction

Balancing time

Balance is essential when gaming, especially for adults. While video games can inspire social interaction, they can also encourage isolation. It’s important to keep a healthy balance when playing games and stay engaged in real life, too.

Older adults who game have likely learned healthy time management skills, and video gaming can become a healthy hobby with positive effects on health and wellness. It's important, however to be aware of the amount of time spent playing in isolation to ensure gaming doesn't become a destructive pastime.

Related:

Anyone can be a gamer, no matter how old they are. Games can range from puzzles and board games to outdoor activities and traditional video games. While we all grow older, sometimes acting like a child is the right solution.

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