The Brain-Boosting Benefits of Video Games

Darshan Somasheka

The Brain-Boosting Benefits of Video Games

Darshan Somasheka

Being active is important at all stages of life. Many people immediately think about the body when it comes to being active. Still, it’s just as important to maintain brain health as we age. Studies have shown that there are many benefits to keeping the mind active. This can take on many forms throughout our lives including socializing, problem-solving for work, and more. Video games are an excellent alternative to these activities in older adulthood because they don’t require much physical movement, they can be played with a group or independently, and they can improve cognition and emotional health. Continue reading to find out what video games can help support senior brain health.

Video Game Recommendations for Seniors

1. Classic games

Virtual versions of classic puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords, and anagrams are easy to find. They provide creative brain exercises for the person your care for that can help keep their minds active. These games challenge seniors in various ways, from mathematics to linguistics, such as tasking seniors to solve math equations or recall words. These require seniors to think not only about the game but also about solving challenges that can aid in memory and brain health. Such challenges can be as simple as making sure all the squares in a particular line add up the same amount in Sudoku or plumbing the depths of their vocabulary for a crossword. These kinds of mental agility exercises challenge and stimulate the mind and can help your loved one preserve and maintain brain health. 

2. Card games

Card games, such as solitaire, are another excellent choice for improving senior brain health. There are many places your loved one can play solitaire online for free, and it can be accessed virtually on most any device so it’s easy to get started. These card games generally have simple rules that are easy to understand but require attention and focus from the player. Many game providers also have leaderboards and weekly challenges that add a layer of competition without the stress or time commitments.

3. Story-based puzzle games

If the person you care for enjoys stories, they should try puzzle-based games from series such as Professor Layton or Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. These series are more like typical video games. There are multiple characters, a plot, and gameplay directly linked to the story, but the rules in the games are primarily dialog or puzzle-based. These offer various exercises that don’t require fast reflexes or good game mechanics but, instead, utilize your loved one’s memory and cognition to solve a problem or choose the correct option.

The advantage of these games is that they feature compelling characters and stories in addition to puzzles. It also means that they are not as quickly re-playable as other games on this list. The puzzles within an overarching plot can provide stimulation for the person you care for who is looking to improve their brain health while being entertained.

4. Virtual board games

There is an almost endless variety of virtualized versions of classic board games. These include chess, jigsaw puzzles, checkers, backgammon, and plenty more. One significant advantage of playing the video game versions of board games is that they won’t need to set up the pieces or put them back in place after the game. 

Seniors can also pick up and put down these games at their leisure without requiring another person to play with them. Many video game versions of board games allow the user to play against other human players online and play against AI opponents of customizable difficulty offline. Your loved one is probably familiar with the rules to at least a few board games making them an excellent choice for seniors looking to improve their brain health.

What are the benefits of video games for seniors?

According to research by the Goodman Group on the benefits of video games and VR for seniors, these types of activities can improve mood, enhance short-term memory, and reduce Alzheimer's risk factors. The video game categories listed above are highly recommended for seniors interested in keeping an active mind and improving their brain health. These types of games are well-suited for aging adults because they don’t typically require fast reflexes or in-depth knowledge of game mechanics. They’re simple and easy to pick up and put down at a person's leisure and can be played alone. 

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