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5 Reasons the Elderly Should Play Video Games

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It may surprise some people to hear video games are becoming more popular among the elderly, but there are more than a few reasons for this recent development. Research indicates playing video games in the senior years offers many health benefits, and The Woodlands home care experts at Home Care Assistance want to share 5 of these advantages.

1. Enhance Vision

Many people grew up believing staring at the television was bad for the eyes, but research has revealed the opposite might actually be true. A doctor from McMaster University in Ontario has recently claimed the rapid eye movements needed for playing video games can strengthen the eyes. Though more research is needed on the subject, these studies suggest video games might delay the development of age-related macular degeneration.

2. Increase Balance

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Gerontology found spending 2 to 3 hours a week playing video games could increase a senior’s balance and motor skills. These findings are extremely promising due to the prevalence of injuries in the senior population. Currently, 2.5 million older adults are treated for fall-related injuries every year in the United States.

3. Reduce Stress

Chronic stress can impact almost every facet of a senior’s physical and mental health. Exercise and social interactions are great stress relievers, but seniors can also benefit from playing video games. People of all ages continue to report lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety when they regularly play interactive video games.

4. Get Some Low-Impact Exercise

The video game and fitness industries are more intertwined than ever because of consoles like the Nintendo Wii. Seniors can use various controllers and attachments to increase their strength and balance in a safe and controlled environment. Playing these physical games can help seniors complete the 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week all older adults should be aiming for.

5. Alleviate Pain

Many seniors will have to manage chronic pain at some point, but taking painkillers indefinitely can severely damage the liver and other organs. Psychologists from the University of Washington developed a game called Snow World specifically for people with chronic pain. Those who regularly played the game required much lower doses of medicine and reported lower levels of pain.

To learn more about the many ways video games can boost a senior’s health, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of respite and live-in care, and we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care in The Woodlands. For more information and to request a free in-home consultation, call a Care Manager today at 832-412-1345.