The Benefits of Games for Older Adults

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

two old men are playing computer game.

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.

Improving Self-Confidence

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

Grandparents happily playing with kids using their tablet.

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

An old man is playing with alphabet blocks to prevent Alzheimer

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:

Sudoku

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. 

Word-Making

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. 

Puzzles

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. 

Online Games

an old woman is playing Racing game with her laptop

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.

Conclusion

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. 

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William Stewart
William Stewart
5 months ago

I never knew playing games could improve health. I like games, especially games played with dice like Qwixx, it’s enjoyable and entertaining, and everyone can play it. Battleship is also fun; there’s a battleship board game and even a game app. but my wife and I always play on paper!

Liliane
Liliane
Reply to  William Stewart
9 days ago

Like me, I always thought it was suitable just for having fun and killing time, but the article opened my eyes. It was really informative, so I learned about some new games and their benefits for the mind and body. This time, when my grandchildren come to me for games, my answer would be yes.

Tina
Tina
5 months ago

After reading a few similar articles, I tried to get my 70-year-old dad to do some games, but he won’t accept. He thinks once you hit a certain age, you are not allowed to play games anymore. Do you think I can change this perspective that has been formed since his younger days? Any ideas on how to do that?

barbara
barbara
5 months ago

As far as I remember, one of the most fun times that I’ve ever had with my grandpa is doing puzzles. It brought great fun when I was a child. Now, when I face trouble in my life and need some rest and relaxing time, I go there and do puzzles. It acts as a sedative drug for me. My grandpa also enjoys solving puzzles. We have a great time with each other. 

Marshall
Marshall
Reply to  barbara
18 days ago

I am 34 years old, and my grandmother enjoys playing games on her phone. Yesterday my brother and I visited her, and my grandma told us we could play a game together. We agreed because she always feels lonely and bored. Playing games can be an excellent way to spend time together. She told us she could become a gamer. Now my brother wants to tutor her. Playing games with your loved ones has many advantages, and it can improve a senior’s emotional health since they are not as active as they were before.

Amelia
Amelia
4 months ago

I think playing games would be beneficial for all ages. Games can improve neural junctions in kids when their brains are developing. As we age, such neural junctions may decline gradually. Playing games can decrease this process. in addition, playing group games can increase social bods among the elderly, which is vital for their mental and social health. 

Funny Nana
Funny Nana
2 months ago

In my opinion, elders are the nicest people to play video games. I’m one of those oldies (in my 50s), so it may make me biased. I was a gamer in my youth (I miss my old Atari game console). And who can forget Pong, which came out in 1975, when I was ten years old? We played that game on a small black and white TV nonstop. Games are great mood boosters and may entertain you for a long time.

Ella
Ella
1 month ago

I love playing Wii games. You have the whole package of workouts and fun at the same time. They cheer me up. Make sure to try!

Lucas
Lucas
29 days ago

I love games, and I enjoy them like everyone else. I come from the old PacMan era. I loved it then, and I love it now forty years later. That fever never faded away with age. When you reach your 50s, you’ll realize that your body may have aged a bit, but your brain hasn’t.
Me, I’m a very immature 51 year old man, although my wife often says I’m worse than the kids. 
Playing video games has been helpful in my hand-eye coordination and has always improved my mood.

Nora
Nora
26 days ago

I have played video games since they showed up in the market. I played on all consoles, and now I own a PS5. Doctors told me your reflexes are just like a 40-year-old person. I’m in my 80s and drive everywhere without any problem.

Ethan
Ethan
Reply to  Nora
20 days ago

Nora, I’ve got to say, that is the most impressive thing I’ve heard in a while! As a video game enthusiast myself, it’s great to see people going past the belief that gaming is just a hobby for the younger generation. Keep it up and game on!

Last edited 20 days ago by Ethan