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  • Writer's pictureJames Dean

Game On, Seniors: The Surprising Cognitive Benefits of PlayStation and Xbox Games

For many, video games conjure images of teenagers glued to screens, controllers in hand. However, research suggests that these same games can offer surprising cognitive benefits for seniors, potentially improving memory, problem-solving skills, physical fitness and even reducing the risk of dementia. Market research shows a growing senior population The global population aged 60 and above is projected to reach 2 Billion people by 2050, according to the United Nations. This presents a large and growing market for senior-focused products and services, including cognitive video and VR games from leading gaming units like the SONY PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox writes author, James Dean.

In fact, a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that playing brain-training video games for 6 months improved cognitive function in older adults by up to 80% compared to a control group. And reviews published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry concluded that video games hold promise for improving cognitive function in older adults, suggesting further research should be done in the area. Further, AARP finds that nearly 40% of Americans over 50 years and older play video games for enjoyment and to stay cognitively alert.

Seniors may boost brain power playing video games can:

  • Enhance memory: Games often require players to remember complex information, navigate virtual environments, and recall past experiences within the game world. This constant mental engagement can help strengthen memory pathways and improve overall memory function.

  • Sharpen problem-solving skills: Many games present players with puzzles and challenges that require critical thinking and strategic planning. Regularly engaging with these challenges can help seniors develop and maintain their problem-solving abilities.

  • Improve attention and processing speed: Fast-paced games often require players to react quickly and pay close attention to multiple stimuli simultaneously. This can help improve reaction times, enhance focus, and boost overall information processing speed.

  • Increase brain connectivity: Research suggests that playing video games can lead to increased grey matter volume in the brain, which is associated with improved cognitive function and memory. This increased connectivity can potentially help delay cognitive decline and even reduce the risk of dementia.

Watch Gaming Impact on Brain

Below, I recommend a few PlayStation and Xbox games that are healthy for seniors;

  • Crossword games: These classic games help with vocabulary, spelling, and critical thinking. Examples include "Wordscapes" like Word Quest (PlayStation, Xbox), "CodyCross" (PlayStation, Xbox).

  • Sudoku: This popular puzzle game challenges players to use logic and deduction skills to solve number puzzles. Examples include "Sudoku by MobilityWare" (PlayStation, Xbox).

  • Jigsaw puzzles: Putting together jigsaw puzzles can improve visual-spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills. Examples include "Jigsaw Puzzle Dreams" (PlayStation, Xbox).

  • City-building games: These games require players to plan, manage resources, and solve problems to build and grow a virtual city. Examples include "Cities: Skylines" (Xbox).

  • Simulation games: These games allow players to experience different activities and roles in a safe and simulated environment. Examples include "House Flipper" (PlayStation, Xbox), "Stardew Valley" (PlayStation, Xbox).

  • Sports games: These games can be a fun way to stay active and engaged, even if players can't participate in real-life sports. Examples include "Everybody's Golf" (PlayStation), "Wii Sports" (though not technically a PlayStation or Xbox game, it is a popular choice for seniors due to its ease of use).

  • Music games: These games can improve hand-eye coordination, rhythm, and reaction time. Examples include "Just Dance" (PlayStation, Xbox).

Considerations when choosing games:

  • Difficulty level: Choose games that are challenging but achievable to avoid frustration. Most games offer adjustable difficulty settings.

  • Control complexity: Opt for games with simple and intuitive controls that are easy for seniors to learn and use.

  • Visual appeal: Look for games with clear and vibrant visuals that are easy to see on screen.

  • Social interaction: Consider multiplayer games or games that encourage social interaction to combat feelings of isolation.

It's important to encourage seniors to try different games to find what they enjoy the most. With a little exploration, they can discover the many benefits that video games can offer for cognitive health, social connection, and overall well-being.

Beyond the Benefits:

The advantages of video games for seniors extend beyond just cognitive benefits. Gaming can also:

  • Promote social interaction: Multiplayer games allow seniors to connect with others online or in person, fostering social interaction and combating feelings of isolation.

  • Enhance hand-eye coordination: Playing games often requires precise hand-eye coordination to navigate on-screen characters and interact with virtual environments. This can help improve dexterity and motor skills.

  • Provide a sense of accomplishment: Completing challenges and achieving goals within games can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem, particularly for seniors who may face limitations in other areas of life.

Watch Video Gaming Impacts on Cognitive and Physical Acuity

Getting Started:

If you're a senior interested in exploring the world of video games, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Start slow: Choose games with simple mechanics and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable.

  • Find a genre you enjoy: There are countless video games available, catering to various interests. From puzzle games to strategy games, there's something for everyone.

  • Embrace the learning process: Don't be discouraged if you don't pick things up immediately. Be patient with yourself and ask for help if needed.

Playing video games can be a fun and engaging way for seniors to maintain cognitive function, stay connected with others, and experience a sense of accomplishment. So, grab a controller, explore the vast world of gaming, and discover the surprising benefits it can offer.

James Dean, author / eCommerce guru is located in Northeast Ohio with over 35 years of experience in Business Development. He is a graduate of Boston University. J Dean leads a team helping entrepreneurs, corporations and non-profits to succeed in a changing world. Questions contact 440-596-3380 or Email   


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