By Dr. Ted Achacoso

Grandfather with his nephew seated on a modern sofa playing

Not just for teens and 20-somethings, video games can exert beneficial effects for seniors. Jason C. Allaire, North Carolina State University (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues asked 140 people, ages 63 years and older, how often they played video games, if at all: 61% of study participants played video games at least occasionally, with 35% of participants saying they played at least once per week. The subjects took a battery of tests to assess their emotional and social well-being. The team found that participants who played video games, including those who only played occasionally, reported higher levels of well-being. Those who did not play video games reported more negative emotions and a tendency toward higher levels of depression. Writing that: “Regular and Occasional Gamers [perform] better, on average, than Non-gaming older adults,” the study authors submit that: “Findings suggest that playing may serve as a positive activity associated with successful aging.”

 

TEDBits (Dr. Ted says): “Okay, Gramps! Time to grab that XBox or Wii controller from your grandkids and start competing with them! Come on! Depression is quite common during advanced years. Why not play it off with some good, old-fashioned Super Mario game?”

 

Reference: Jason C. Allaire, Anne Collins McLaughlin, Amanda Trujillo, Laura A. Whitlock, Landon LaPorte,   Maribeth Gandy. “Successful aging through digital games: Socioemotional differences between older adult gamers and Non-gamers.” Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 29, Issue 4, July 2013, Pages 1302–1306