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How Video Games Help Seniors

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on December 26, 2014

Scientists aren’t sure why some elderly folks retain a quick and agile mind well into their golden years, while other seniors experience effects of aging like dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive problems. However, recent research suggests playing video games can help strengthen elderly minds, improve cognitive skills, and stave off the effects of aging on the brain. Phoenix home care provider, Home Care Assistance, shares some of the recent research and best benefits experienced by seniors who play video games.

The Cognitive Benefits of Gaming for Seniors

A recent study conducted at UC San Francisco showed cognitive benefits for seniors who played a video game for 12 hours over the course of a month. The seniors taking part in the study improved their attention span and got higher scores on memory tests after playing games. Additionally, the effects lasted up to six months for some participants.

In 2008, the results of another study, which appeared in the journal Psychology & Aging, showed seniors experienced improved working memory and reasoning skills after regularly playing a game that relies heavily on strategy.

Emotional & Physical Health Benefits from Video Games

Beyond the cognitive improvements that video games may grant seniors, other research has indicated that video games could even help the emotional and physical health of seniors who regularly play.

A study by researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) revealed that senior gamers who played occasionally, or around once a week, were more positive, had a high sense of well-being, and even reported better physical health than non-gamers.

Conversely, study participants who reported no gaming activities were more likely to exhibit signs of depression and negativity. The NCSU study further pointed out that playing a strategy video game improved executive control processes, which included advanced thinking like multi-tasking, scheduling, and planning.

Brain games designed for seniors should be a daily addition to a healthy lifestyle, as video games might be one of the best ways to fight the effects of aging on the brain. Seniors and their families should think about playing games to ensure a healthy and active mind and body at any age. You can ensure your loved one is getting enough mental stimulation and physical activity with the help of a live-in or part-time hourly caregiver in Phoenix. Home Care Assistance only employs compassionate and highly-trained caregivers, ensuring your loved one gets nothing but the best support possible. Contact a Care Manager today at (602) 388-1085 to schedule a free in-home consultation.