Games are for everyone to enjoy. They are the means to relieve our stress by providing a fun and exciting challenge. While experts warn every day about the effects of computer games and excessive use of phones in children and adolescents, some other studies confirm some of these games positively impact the elderly psyche. But when we talk about games’ benefits, what do we mean, and what are the beneficial games for this purpose? Excessive playing of games is dangerous for all ages, but some studies show that selecting suitable games for the elderly can positively affect their psyche and well-being. In this article, we will go through some of the benefits of playing games for older adults.
Improving the Speed of Reaction
As people age, their reaction rate usually decreases. This reduction in reaction speed can be dangerous in some situations, such as driving. Studies show that games that require quick decision-making and reaction in a short time can, to some extent, improve the rate of response of older adults.
Improving Cognitive Abilities
Some games can help seniors improve their cognitive abilities, such as judgment, decision making, and of course, memory. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois shows that strategic computer games can help strengthen critical thinking for seniors.
Due to the rapid growth of new technologies, especially the rapid changes in mobile phones, many older people do not feel good about these changes and do not have enough confidence to use these technologies. Studies show that playing with mobile phones can improve the elderly’s mood when using new phones and reduce their inability to cope with new technologies.
While we grow up, we sometimes forget that our parents are also growing old. Various goals of the family members lead them in different directions. Games can be a perfect way to spend time together. We can think of the time spent on games as quality time and a priceless gift.
Feel Closer to the New Generation
We have all heard about the phenomenon of the generation gap. As people grow older, they feel that they have lost their position globally and cannot act as youngsters. Unfortunately, there is no way to reduce this gap. However, some studies indicate that playing games can help reduce this gap since it enables the elderly to have a common source of interest to share with young people.
Improving Mood and Reducing Depression
The mobility of the elderly is more limited than that of younger people. That causes them to become bored, especially during the fall and winter season, by being confined to their homes and feeling uncomfortable about their situation. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that older people who played computer games were happier and experienced fewer depressive symptoms. Another study by researchers at the University of California shows that even some computer games help treat depression in old age.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
Studies by University of California researchers show that games that improve seniors’ cognitive abilities may help prevent Alzheimer‘s. Of course, note that not every game can have such an effect, but we should wisely choose the game.
Improving Immune System
Games are always linked to positive feelings, such as entertainment and laughter. Research shows that the laughter and happiness created by games can improve immunity by releasing some chemicals. These chemicals can work against stress and improve the immune system’s functioning in the senior’s body.
Reducing Blood Pressure
As said earlier, games can make the person entertain and laugh. Laughter produces endorphin, which is responsible for the feeling of happiness. This chemical reduces the muscles’ tensions and enables blood to circulate better in the veins, leading to lower blood pressure, one of the most common conditions they may suffer.
Best Games For Seniors
But the question that might arise at this point is what kind of games can be suitable for the elderly? There are various games available that people in any age group can enjoy them. Games divide into two categories of indoor and outdoor games.
Most of us might think that only indoor games are suitable for older people, but we have to admit that there are many outdoor games available that seniors can play. The benefits of outdoor games are endless in comparison to indoor games. The most important benefit is the social benefits. Outdoor games enable them to see their peers during playing a game and prevent isolation and loneliness that are the most common issues that cause suffering for older adults.
Among the best outdoor games available for the elderly, one can mention darts, minigolf, bocce, croquet, and shuffleboard, which improve their mobility and visual skills. Since these games need a bit of physical activity, they can increase the heart rate and maintain physical health.
Along with outdoor games, there are various beneficial indoor games for seniors. Some people may not be able to go out due to their physical limitations. That is where technology can enter to rescue and provide entertainment. Below are some indoor games suitable for older people:
This game is available in different versions. Apart from entertainment, this game can keep people’s minds active and strengthen some cognitive abilities. Various magazines provide entertaining Sudokus. They can also enjoy this game on their phones or tablets.
Whether word-building with a group of letters or word-guessing based on a few clues, this game is top-rated among seniors. Strengthening cognitive abilities such as reasoning, memory, and entertainment are some of these games’ benefits. These games can also create an engaging environment at home where the members gather to guess the word and reduce loneliness.
Building Blocks or Tetris
Success in these games is highly dependent on the speed of action in people. In addition to improving response speed, this game enhances some cognitive abilities.
In addition to increasing some of your cognitive abilities, these games are an excellent exercise to keep focused on a task for a long time. Having people focus on an activity several times to complete a puzzle and continue it is a useful cognitive exercise for older adults. Puzzles are challenging to do alone, and they also create an opportunity for cooperation among the family members.
Many online games are designed for multiple players. These games create a chance for all family members to compete with each other in a challenge. Thanks to the advances in games, several games such as card games, backgammon, chess, etc., are available online and enable the elderly to play with the PC or play with a known rival.
Aging is a process that engenders a sense of loneliness in individuals. It also comes with various diseases. There are different ways to prevent the symptoms of senility. Loneliness is one of the main issues which makes people suffer during this period. Most of the time, the children have left their parents, or one of the spouses has passed away and left alone. That’s where games come to rescue us. Games enable us to challenge our cognitive ability. Games can provide entertainment and have different benefits for seniors, such as reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Now it is time to dust off the board games on top of your cupboard and put them into use.