People who are over 60 today were in their twenties when games like Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Tetris, among many other iconic titles were released. They are a generation that saw the birth of consoles, the introduction of online gaming and even gaming on mobile devices. Therefore, it should not be surprising that senior citizens represent a high percentage of gamers.
But seniors cannot be pigeonholed as a single population. The study “Gaming Grandparents 2022”, prepared by the AARP organization, mentions that older adults who are grandparents play more video games than those who do not have grandchildren. In addition, those who play the most are those between 50 and 59 years old.
On the other hand, statistics indicate that grandmothers play more than grandfathers, since 50% of women answered that they do so at least once a month, while only 43% of men do so.
reasons to play
Respondents listed three main reasons why they play video games. The first, because they consider that playing is an important part of the aging process; the second, because it allows them to de-stress and combat anxiety; lastly, because they believe that playing is good for them as they get older.
Seniors who are grandparents highlighted that “spending time with family” is not a primary reason for playing video games, as 82% responded that this is an activity they prefer to do alone.
However, the main reason grandparents play more is because grandchildren are the main source of video game news and have a greater influence on their decisions.
According to a Global Web Index report, these are the types of games that Baby Boomers enjoy the most:
However, the majority answered that although they play more than five hours a week, they do not consider themselves gamers and this is a diminishing perception, especially as the years go by.
Benefits of playing video games in the elderly
Video games are as diverse as the gamers themselves. Each video game will have different purposes and benefits. Playing Candy Crush on your phone is not the same as playing Golf on a Wii. The abilities and benefits offered by each vary.
Hai-Yan Hou and Hui-JieLi, academics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, on the benefits that exergames can bring, that is, those games that encourage physical activity.
Among their findings, they concluded that seniors who played these video games improved their verbal memory and aerobic endurance, showed improvements in lower extremity strength and balance, and had notable cognitive and physical function benefits.
On the other hand, the Mental Health Institute of the University of Utah conducted on how video games can help improve depression in older adults and concluded that those who played video games specially designed to combat depression, reduced their symptoms by 50% in a period of 30 days.
Among other benefits found by older adults who play video games are:
Feelings of achievement:
Having goals to achieve, when you win, it can bring positive feelings.
Video games force the mind to quickly analyze situations, strategize, and think harder. They also help develop critical thinking skills and enhance brain development.
Improve social interaction:
Especially when it comes to multiplayer or online games.
Recovery from mental health problems:
Depression, anxiety, attention deficit and post-traumatic stress are diseases that can be improved by finding the right video game.