Improving Senior Mental Health - Video Games
Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Emotional wellness is an important aspect of someone’s life and as our loved ones age, life’s circumstances may begin to take a toll on theirs. Emotional wellness is the ability to handle the stress of everyday life and the ability to successfully adapt to change or difficult situations.
When someone is going through difficult periods or perhaps having to change their diet or ways of being in the world, their emotional wellness may begin to suffer. This can look like increased social isolation, changes in appetite, or a loss of interest in their activities.
For seniors that tend to enjoy their independence and solitude, it may be a bit more difficult to encourage them to be social. Luckily however, some new studies into video games and the elderly are offering positive insights that can help mitigate loneliness without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Video Games and Well-being
A recent study from North Carolina University, has shown a link between those that played video games and higher levels of well-being. While those who did not play video games often reported negative feelings and trended towards higher levels of depression.
Moreover, Christian M. Jones, et al. propose that “video games, by their very nature, have design elements aligned with attributes of well-being, and that playing video games can provide opportunities for flourishing mental health”¹
Familiar Puzzle Games
Puzzle games are great resources to help keep senior minds sharp. Things like sudoku, crosswords, and even word finders are great classic games that are easy to do anywhere. All you need is a pencil!
Words with Friends is another great option for seniors who love games with words. This option is great for playing against family and friends and maintaining a healthy level of competition.
Story Rich Games
Most seniors are going to be familiar with crosswords and sudokus, but many probably don’t have experience with some of the newer video games. Some games may be tricky to learn but by learning, we create new neural pathways in our brains that will help outside of the digital world.
As we’ve mentioned before, a sense of community and engagement is crucial for human flourishing and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing is a great game to that end. In this game, you are free to roam around the village filled with cute animal characters and do as you please. You can make friends, go fishing, plant things, or just explore the island.
For those that really need a storyline to immerse into, there is Old Man’s Journey. This puzzle game has you journeying across the various landscapes uncovering the mystery of the main character’s past. Its beautiful artwork and music will captivate you while you try to solve the puzzle of his past.
Role playing games allow someone to immerse themselves into the role of another. You live through the lens of another and this allows a lot of creativity and exploration of digital worlds.
There is even a person colloquially known as the “RPG Granny” that streams herself as she plays Skyrim, a masterful rpg wherein you are free to roam the lands of Skyrim exploring, hunting, battling, and even looting and bartering.
Here at Christian Companions, we’re excited to help your loved one thrive in their own space and our compassionate caregivers are ready to assist. Whether it’s running errands, picking up medications, or trying out new hobbies such as video games, we look forward to helping your loved one age in place with grace. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.
1. Jones, C. M., Scholes, L., Johnson, D., Katsikitis, M., & Carras, M. C. (2014). Gaming well: links between videogames and flourishing mental health. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 260. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00260