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5 Ways Playing Video Games Can Keep Seniors Healthy

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Video games aren’t just a fun way for kids and young adults to pass the time. Research has discovered playing these types of games can actually be beneficial for people over 65 as well. Jefferson County, CO, in-home elder care experts discuss 5 reasons seniors might want to play video games on a regular basis.

1. Slows the Natural Aging Process

Studies conducted at the University of Iowa show playing brain-teasing video games might delay cognitive decline by as much as 7 years. The studies followed over 680 seniors who played video games up to 10 hours per week. Over the course of 8 weeks, those who played the full 10 hours had higher cognitive test scores, while the control group had few changes to their scores.

2. Reduces Vision Loss

Many people believe they will begin losing their vision at a certain age, but playing video games can help slow vision loss. A 2009 study conducted at the University of Rochester found playing video games once a day for 10 weeks helped subjects differentiate between different shades of gray. Those who had lazy eyes also reported better vision and less irritation in their eyes.

3. Decreases the Need for Painkillers

Opiate-based painkillers are prescribed at an alarming rate, and they can be disastrous to a senior’s health. These types of medication are not only addictive, but they can also produce severe withdrawal symptoms. As an alternative, seniors can distract themselves with immersive video games that keep them engaged and activate the “reward center” of their brains.

4. Increases Balance

Many modern video games, such as Microsoft’s motion sensing Kinect device, use unique controllers and platforms that track a player’s balance and movements. Kinect games often offer low-impact challenges like following the dance moves of an avatar to increase strength and balance. 

5. Lowers Stress Levels

Seniors should make it a priority to prevent chronic anxiety at all costs. When left untreated, stress increases blood pressure and negatively impacts critical thinking skills. The University of London conducted a study on nearly 500 gamers and found those who played regularly had lower levels of stress, better sleep quality, and increased concentration.

Playing video games with the grandkids or other seniors is a great way for your senior loved one to get some regular social stimulation. If your loved one needs more socialization in his or her life, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers make wonderful companions and can assist with a wide array of important everyday tasks, and we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia care Jefferson County seniors can rely on. For more information on our at-home care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (303) 987-5992 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.