You probably think that online or video games are only for the young generation, but that’s not the case as it stands now. Due to this pandemic (Covid-19), more older people are turning to video games than ever.
According to a report, 42 percent of people aged between 55 and 64 admit that they play video games regularly. In another study, it was found that 43 percent of adults living in the United States play video games. Even more, 25 percent of people aged above 65 years say that they have been playing video games for the past five years.
More older people are diving into the video gaming industry every day. In fact, according to Egris, 32 percent out of the 150 million video gamers are aged 50 years and above. And with this in mind, you should jump into the bandwagon sooner than later.
This post will walk you through everything you need to know about video/ online gaming – from what is online gaming to the factors you need to consider when purchasing any online video game. Ready? Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.
What is Online Gaming/ Video Gaming?
Online games are video games that offer gamers online interaction while playing. There was a contradiction of whether video games could be classified as online games or not, in the past. This distinction is no longer applied, and video games are now classified as online games. However, online games can still be classified based on the level of interaction they offer to gamers.
Safety Tips to Online Gaming for Seniors
Gaming is fun and can help you spend your leisure time, now that you are ageing up. However, you need to understand a few things about online gaming for the seniors before you can dive in. Below are a few essentials you need to know before you start playing online games for seniors.
- Avoid giving out your personal data to anyone online because they can use that information to access your most sensitive information.
- Some games encourage seniors to buy a few features to make the games more fun but don’t purchase anything if it doesn’t make sense.
- Bullying is common online, and the chances are that you might be bullied or bullying other people – please don’t.
- Find the right games for seniors that you can comfortably play. There are also children’s games, and you probably don’t want to get involved in those.
- Don’t quit playing games because there are always penalties that come with some of the games you can play online.
- Create a new email address anytime you want to register for any online gaming site. This way, hackers will find it hard, messing up your most sensitive information.
- Only buy video games using your credit card when the site you are buying from is secured – meaning that it has an address starting with “https” instead of “http.”
- Some gaming sites allow you to verify your identity before you can do anything on the site – please don’t overlook this feature.
- Have an antivirus software installed on your computer or laptop before accessing any video gaming sites or downloading any games from the internet.
Benefits of Online/ Video Gaming for the Seniors
Playing online games will mean downloading a game on a mobile device, installing it on a PC, or buying a game from a gaming board.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast, it will be best to review the types of gaming consoles available and their price points to leverage the best device for gaming.
But before then, let’s review some of the health benefits that come about with gaming:
1. Happier Lives
Seniors who play video games report higher levels of emotional comfort. When compared to seniors who don’t play at all, older gamers were happier and more social. Even for those who play occasionally, there were noticeable improvements reported regarding their moods. Sadly, there were several cases of negative emotions and depression from seniors who are nongamers.
2. Enhanced Balance and Walking Speed
Often, video games that require quick decision making and visual focus contribute to physical performance in seniors. A recent search reported significant speed improvements on seniors who play video games at least once a week. Further, the reports concluded that video games could be a promising approach to fall prevention for seniors.
3. Improved Intellectual Abilities
A study found that seniors with poor cognitive attention and spatial abilities improved intellectually after playing video games. Similarly, older adults between the age of 60-77 reported significant improvements in cognitive focus and spatial ability after they scored low before playing the game. Those who performed well in their cognitive skills before playing the game saw some little improvement in their scores.
4. Reverse Brain Aging
Video games are proven to reverse the negative signs of ageing. Seniors who play multitasking games for 12 hours over a month tend to enhance their overall performance. Their attention span, as well as memories, are also improved, altering the brain’s overall neural network. The results can be noticeable after six months of training.
Potential Risks of Playing Video Games for Seniors
There are not many risks to playing video games for seniors, except that you can get addicted or it could damage your eyes.
According to research, even seniors with damaged eyes still can play video games because they can identify faces and small prints. But what are some of the potential risks of playing video games as a senior?
Below are some of the potential risks of seniors playing video games:
- Becoming aggressive to video games; you start to believe that games impact your life.
- You will end up playing video games rather than socializing with your friends or family members.
- Playing video games for long hours, which could lead to the damage of your eyes or insomnia.
- Anxiety when you are looking forward to playing a new game.
If you have chosen to play video games, please don’t overdo it. Instead, take a break, loosen up and let the goofy side of you out. Take a walk and visit friends before you can proceed with your gaming activity. That way, you will be minimizing the risk of addiction.
Best Video Games for Seniors
1. Wii Sports
Wii Sports is a combination of different games that seniors can comfortably play without any hassle. It features a controller feature, which you can use to initiate actions, such as boxing, baseball, golfing, among others.
The advantage of this game is that it is customizable, so you can make a character like you, making it a lot fun. You can either play against your friend or relative or choose to play against the computer – it’s all up to you.
The Wii Sports game uses a motion-sensor technology that can read and mimic your movements when placed on top of your TV. Because of this functionality, this game would be perfect for the seniors who would want to move but can’t get out to do traditional exercise.
Video games like Wii Sports are a perfect match for the elderly because they don’t require any techie skills and they don’t feature so many controls that would make the game overwhelming. Even better, the instructions to use the game are simple to understand.
The Wii Sports video game can help seniors exercise without going out to do the traditional exercise. Additionally, this game can help increase your focus and concentration, and most importantly, allow you to have a good time, forgetting about all your worries.
2. Super Mario 3D World
Another exciting game that you can check out is the Super Mario 3D World. This game has been around for many years, and there is a good reason for its success. Super Mario 3D can help with stimulating the hippocampus; a part of your brain responsible for retaining memories.
The Super Mario 3D can help minimize the chances of Alzheimer’s illness, which could get worse to the point of affecting your everyday tasks. Like the Wii Sports, this game is relatively straightforward to play and can be challenging and fun playing.
This game enhances your coordination, reaction time and balance. Seniors tend to lose some of these as they get older. However, playing this game, at least for 30 minutes can help you minimize the risk of dementia or any other memory loss conditions.
This game is challenging and requires you to apply your critical thinking and cleverness to pass through levels. It’s one of those games that will broaden your mind as you also learn new gaming tactics to beat opponents.
3. World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is one of the video games that senior players looking for more in-depth games will love. It’s a role-playing game with an exciting story theme that can help enhance your cognitive abilities, mostly when you play it quite often.
Seniors who play the World of Warcraft have improved their coordination and memory. This is because this game forces seniors like you to think outside the box and tackle a variety of situations. It is a social game, so you can play it with friends online.
World of Warcraft is one of the most exciting RPG games you can find today. The advantage of this game is that you can customize it to your liking. This game is not easy, though, but this gives you a competitive advantage.
Besides, if you love challenges and would be willing to take gaming challenges, then this game will suit you. You will not only love the game, but you will also love this game’s storyline, the interaction with other people and the characters.
4. Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing is a simulation game, and seniors love it. This game revolves around a story about animals in a town, with you playing the role of a villager. This game requires you to act as the mayor of this animal town and responsible for activities in the town to give you bells, which you can use to purchase anything you want.
This game is very real, so whatever you are playing would happen in real life. Furthermore, it will be fun carrying out everyday activities along with the most beautiful animals. There are no techie skills required, but rest assured that this game will suit you if you enjoy doing activities that would push your day faster.
The Animal Crossing game is customizable, so you can customize it to your liking. The customization feature also helps you enhance your creativity with what you’d like to improve if you were to develop the game on your own. You have the options to redefine how your character looks, your home, and many other things you’d like to change.
There is one feature that makes the Minecraft game one of the most preferred games for seniors – the ability to make whatever you desire. This feature is called the sandbox, and it allows gamers to create anything they want. In other words, this game presents you with the opportunity to get creative and think outside the box.
Most seniors also love the Minecraft game just because of the relaxing and soothing music. You can choose to play in the open world mode, where you have the freedom to design anything to your liking. Alternatively, you can play the story mode, which will allow you to play through a story and fight the Villains.
You will need a strategy to get through this game, and that’s where creativity comes in. To stay alive, you will have to eat and sleep. You also have to find ways to procure weapons continuously you will use. This is not a challenging game, but the truth is that you will need some time to get the hang of it.
What to Consider Before Buying Video Games for Seniors
Interests take a vital role in video games. You’ll enjoy gaming something of interest and even win. So before purchasing a video game, ensure that it’s within your interest – whether it’s a simulation or an immersive game.
You can also explore other types of games as long as they are interesting to you. Whether it’s a sandbox game or a game with rules – your prerequisite, you can even try the brainbuster games, wordplay games, connect three games that are ideal for seniors.
Another factor to consider is socialization. Most video games are more fun when many participants are involved. Don’t worry if you’re mostly alone because there are tons of senior games you can play solo or with an online community.
Some games, especially the newer ones, can be quite expensive. But before you rule out a game or console, please check with your local game store.
Many times, people sell consoles at an affordable price. You might be lucky to find one in good shape and even get ownership of some pre-owned games. Meanwhile, take note of additional expenses that come about with newer games such as controllers and add-ons.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast and you’ve been playing since your youthful stage, challenging games are probably a no brainer to you. However, you may want to consider something more straightforward if you’ve never handled a controller before.
Many seniors often find it hard to operate on controls. In such a case, a regular console with larger buttons would be manageable than a handheld console. However, this will depend on the level requirements, and the latter could work perfectly well on a bed-bound senior.
Alternatively, you can use a computer for gaming if you already know the basics of a computer. Just make sure that your choice of platform is easier to use for a smooth experience.
7 Useful links and resources for seniors.
If you like our article, and still want to go deeper, you may want to read more resources on gaming for seniors.
- Why seniors should try gaming: https://partner.sciencenorway.no/a/1444018
- Signs and effect of gaming addiction: https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=ce341f2d-1bdc-49d1-9a4b-b524e782cbbe
- The benefits of video games for seniors: https://blog.thegoodmangroup.com/best-video-games-for-seniors
- Future of video games among the seniors: https://onezero.medium.com/in-the-future-senior-citizens-will-play-video-games-all-day-23794b532447
- Video game trends for 50+ years: https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/technology/info-2019/2020-gaming-trends-older-americans.html
- Healthiest video games for the seniors: https://eligibility.com/medicare/healthiest-and-most-fun-video-games-for-older-adults
- Gaming consoles for the seniors: https://www.bestproducts.com/tech/electronics/g235/best-video-game-consoles-systems/
- Video games and ageing: https://www.bestproducts.com/tech/electronics/g235/best-video-game-consoles-systems/
- Cognitive benefits of video games for seniors: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4130645/
There are lots of video games for seniors. Now that you know the benefits, risks and some of the most popular video games for seniors, test out a few and see what will match your preferences. It doesn’t have to be hard choosing a video game. Find out what you enjoy doing and find games that align with your interests.