Given current world events, and the lengthy isolation periods many people are going through, video games can provide wonderful opportunities for entertainment without the stress of the news, or the non-interactiveness of TV.
You can install games on all platforms these days, from your phone, computer, laptop, tablet, you can buy dedicated consoles like an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch. Some TVs even come with games.
Here are 3 positive aspects of gaming for seniors!
Playing games has long been associated with sitting down and staring at a screen, but these days gaming has changed and grown in many interesting ways.
Modern video games can provide seniors with even more opportunities to get physically active and work on their fine motor skills and coordination.
Phone Games and Gyroscopes: Modern day smartphones have in-built gyroscopes which mean instead of pressing a button to go left or right, you can physically tilt the phone left and right to turn or move in supported games. This also works on devices with larger displays like iPads, which can be better for residents with bad eyesight.
Interactive Consoles: There are now gaming consoles, like the Nintendo Wii, which can help to get your seniors moving more while having fun. The Nintendo Wii uses a unique hand-held remote which is used to interact with the system. Games like Wii tennis, Wii golf, and Wii Bowling, require the physical action of swinging your arm to hit or move the ball.
Virtual Reality (VR): VR gaming consoles are even more interactive, immersing you in an environment in ways that until recently were science fiction. VR enables the user to enter virtual worlds where they can move around, interact with objects, create and paint, or do recreational activities that would otherwise be impossible like jumping between platforms, or racing people in a car.
People who have fun are happier and healthier than those who don’t – it’s as simple as that!
Doing things you enjoy improves your emotional health regardless of whether it is playing bingo, going for a walk or chatting with friends over lunch. So it’s no surprise that seniors who enjoy playing games find themselves in better moods.
For those that enjoy it, playing video games is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. This promotes improved well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Playing a video game will engage the mind in different ways and can even alter the brain’s neural network. Things that are new can provide novel ways of thinking and problem solving.
Playing video games has also been shown to improve attention-span and memory. There are even video games specifically designed to help improve brain power. As we get older, exercising our brains becomes just as important as taking care of our bodies. Encourage your residents to give their brain a new challenge as often as you can, and use modern technology to your advantage.
Whether you want to play house, drive a Formula 1, adventure to distant and foreign lands, or simply solve some puzzles, there is a game out there for everyone. All you have to do is help your residents by giving them the means to play, making it easy and simple, encouraging them, and helping them follow their interests.
Having a shared gaming system in a common area is the simplest way to get started, however, you can also work with what residents already have access to. If they have a phone, or a tablet, or if there are sharable iPads in your facility, make sure to install a few games and encourage residents to give them a go!
Here are a few games to get you started:
2048 - Combine Tiles to get 2048
A fun and simple game that tests your problem solving skills. This game can be installed on a shared iPad or tablet device and enjoyed by all one at a time. It’s worth paying the one time payment of around $5 to remove ads for your residents.
Another simple and fun game, more suited for personal use as it saves progress as you play. It starts very simple, and progressively gets more and more difficult as you play. One upside is it’s free for life!
Available on: Almost all platforms!
This is an interesting one. If you only have a phone or tablet it can be a lot of fun to use Street View to visit places and explore foreign lands. If you have a VR headset like a Rift or a Quest, you can have a much more immersive experience. This is a great one to share, but you might need your IT department to help purchase and set up a VR headset if you don’t have any experience.
Available on: Most VR Headsets Systems
Price: Around $50 (excluding console)
This is an incredible and extremely popular VR game. If you’re unfamiliar with VR games, here is a short video example, it’s hard to explain VR games without seeing the visuals! There are all sorts of popular songs and genres available inside the game, and it can be played sitting down.
What mobile, console, or VR games are a hit with your residents? Please share them with us in the comments below!