Video games and ageing–a match made in heaven?

November 13, 2018 6:28 AM

Video games and ageing are a match in heaven, according to US research.

While the idea of doing some form of regular mental activities on a daily basis to prevent the negative effects of ageing isn’t new, what is new is that playing video games is another activity people feeling the effects of ageing can add to the list.

According to a blog post on the Home Doctor website, neuroscientists in the US have conducted research and experiments on volunteers between the ages of 60 to 85 to see if video games increase the brain power of older people. The research and experiments uncovered many insights, which included but were not limited to:

  • 60 years old who played a custom-designed video game for 12 hours a month, improved their ability to multitask to a level better than those achieved by people 40 years younger playing the game for the first time.
  • Playing games on a TV or Wii systems that encourage physical activity may also make an older person less likely to fall.
  • Playing a road/driving-based video game can improve the short term memory and long term focus of older people.
  • People over 80 began to show neurological patterns of people in their 20s.
  • Older people who played games where they had to remain on alert and act quickly showed an improved sustained attention span.

Interestingly, the writer of the blog post stated that they weren’t suggesting that older people should rush out and buy a gaming console rather that studies like this show how important it is for older people to constantly challenge their brains in some sort of mental activity they enjoy. Whether that is through video games, smartphone apps or non-video/mobile activities is up to them.  That being said, today’s technology provides more choice, including digital crosswords, puzzle, sudokus and board games.

The Home Doctor’s blog post actually made me think of a now decade-old ad starring Olivia Newton-John, playing a brain training game on a Nintendo DS. Having played the brain training games myself, they are simultaneously easy to play and mentally challenging, I would recommend them to older people, especially as my parents played them too.



Are you an older person who has benefitted mentally from video games? Have you bought a video game system for an older loved one and have they benefited from it? Feel free to comment below.