Sunday, August 3, 2014

Video Games Can Help Older Adults (Research, Video 1:02)

If you think older adults and video games aren’t compatible, think again. Another stereotype bites the dust. Research shows that video games can play important roles in improving older adult quality of life in two ways:

 1) Fall Prevention

An older adult fall can be a devastating experience in terms of pain and rehabilitation. With an increasing population of older adults and decreasing availability of health practitioners and funding, computer technology can serve as a vital intervention.

Exergaming is a term used for video games that are also a form of exercise. They use technology that tracks body movements or reactions. Nineteen exergaming studies to prevent older adult falls indicated decrease in falls, improvements in balance control or gait parameters, decreased fear of falling, and attitudes to exercise in older adult persons living in the community. These effects were seen across the age and sex spectrum of older adults, including those with and without balance impairment.
 2) Multitasking Abilities

A study from the University of California in San Francisco reports that playing video games can help middle-aged people and older adults with their multitasking abilities. In the NeuroRacer game, players drove a car on a racetrack while clicking on certain geometric shapes as they appeared on the screen. After playing the game for a month, players were better at performing a second task and had improved short-term memory.  This video gives a more detailed description of how this research was done.

At the age of 91, Naomi Long Madgett, Poet Laureate of Detroit, MI, enjoys using technology. Her good choices with the "new stuff" enhance her quality of life. You can read more about Naomi and iPad research with older adults here:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds pretty neat that video games can have benefits for the older generation. Most people think they just teach kids to be violent. Here is proof otherwise. I hope if I'm put into a long term care place, they let me play video games. I'm not sure how enamored of bingo and shuffle board my generation will be.

    Megan Jones