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How Video Games Can Help Older Adults Cope With Isolation

Apr 28 2020

By Jess Walter

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a global lockdown, and billions of people are now quarantined inside their homes. Right now, medical experts are working together to find a cure for the virus, and those who have compromised immunity, such as older adults, are being strongly advised to remain indoors to avoid getting infected with the coronavirus. As a resultelderly people all over the world have become isolated from their friends and family, and as social isolation can result in loneliness and depression, it’s important for them to find ways to cope during the lockdown. While the internet has been a big help in connecting elderly individuals with their loved ones through video chats and social media updates, another way that they can stay positive is by playing video games. Gaming isn’t just for young people - even individuals who are in their golden years can benefit from playing certain video or online games. Here’s how video games can help older adults cope during isolation.

Playing fitness video games can keep seniors active

Older adults are recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week to stay fit. Most are able to accomplish this by walking for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, but as doing any form of outdoor exercise isn’t advisable at this time for more vulnerable groups, looking for ways to exercise indoors is key to staying healthy and maintaining one’s strength. Playing video games not only helps one to pass the time during the global pandemic, but it can also help to stay active. Xbox and Wii games, such as Just Dance and Your Shape Fitness Evolved allow older adults to follow along to dance or exercise routines, while games such as Wii Sports enables them to play a virtual round of golf, tennis or basketball. 

Video games can help to keep one's mind sharp

Older adults are often encouraged to keep their minds sharp by playing chess, working on crossword puzzles, or doing creative activities such as painting or drawing. However, certain video games can also help flex thinking skills while having fun. Games, such as Nintendo’s Brain Age: Concentration Training and Snipperclips enable one to develop focus while solving puzzles and math problems. Meanwhile, those without a gaming console can still play video games online through AARP’s free gaming website. On this site, older adults can stay mentally sharp by playing games, such as the Tetris-like Block Champ, Bubble Shooter and Word Scramble. 

Gaming can reduce feelings of loneliness

Elderly adults can improve their mood by picking up a game controller. In fact, a study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that seniors who played exercise video games for 35 minutes a day, three times a week had a 50 percent reduction in depressive symptoms. Older adults can try playing simple yet fun video or mobile games, such as Super Mario Run, Candy Crush or Guitar Hero to alleviate boredom and loneliness while on lockdown.

Playing video games is an excellent way to stay physically and mentally healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stay indoors and try playing these fun games, and see what a difference a few minutes of gaming can make to improve your mood and wellbeing.