Gaming has grown in popularity, from a niche segment of computer-knowledgeable people to a massive percentage of the population. And that percentage of the population is not just composed of youngsters. Senior gamers are more and more common.
Gaming Is More Popular Than Ever: Especially For Seniors
Forty-two percent of gamers are over 35 years old, and 15% are 55 years or older, which is far more than in previous years. While the pandemic likely caused some upward change in these numbers, they’ve been rising for several years as seniors become more comfortable with technology.
These numbers will only grow as people who enjoy gaming grow older and bring their hobbies with them into retirement. Moreover, gaming has never been easier and more accessible, with genres and playstyles for all players.
Gaming at Retirement and Assisted Living Homes
Gaming has recently been introduced to retirement homes and assisted living facilities where residents can enjoy the digital world and interact with other residents. In particular, exercise and multiplayer games are popular and helpful for residents.
Besides the benefits gaming can give seniors, it can help them form and deepen relationships by providing residents something to bond over and play with.
Elderly Gaming Influencers
Gaming influencer probably isn’t what you think of when you think of seniors, but some have found them to be the perfect creative and social outlet. Shirley Curry, an over-eighty grandmother, has over 700,000 subscribers on Youtube, and her videos of playing Skyrim have reached international popularity.
Similarly, Will R., behind GrndPaGaming on Twitch, regularly streams Player Unknown Battlegrounds and Subnautica and has nearly 200,000 subscribers.
These senior gamers have in common that they love to interact and be social with their audience and encourage other seniors to do the same, as gaming has helped them maintain healthy and social lives.
The Benefits of Gaming
Gaming has myriad benefits that can apply to everyone, not just seniors, like memory, perception, and hand-eye coordination. But video gaming can be just what the doctor ordered for seniors who want to keep their minds sharp and effective.
Enhance Cognitive Ability
Video gaming can improve mental capabilities like perception, short-term memory, and hand-eye coordination. While everyone can reap these benefits, seniors vulnerable to declining mental states can get the most out of gaming.
However, not all games give the same benefits. A puzzle game won’t help coordination nearly as much as an FPS game. In particular, 3D video games seem to help improve mental capabilities and problem-solving the most.
Improved Relationships and More Social Lives
Video games have become increasingly social, and multiplayer games help players build connections and remain social, no matter where they are in the world—seniors who game are shown to have improved social relationships and healthier emotional lives than non-gamers.
Weekly gaming nights, gaming with loved ones who are far away, and streaming or posting video games online are just a few ways to stay socially and emotionally connected.
Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s
That’s right. Playing games can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Given how games engage your problem-solving skills and ability to process information, maybe that’s no surprise. It’s a great way to get yourself thinking, and remaining mentally active is essential in staving off mental decline in old age.
So if you’re at elevated risk or want to keep your mind sharp, becoming a senior gamer can help you improve your mental functions or keep them sharp well into retirement.
Improved Balance and Physical Abilities
Exercise games have revolutionized everything from physical therapy to how people exercise indoors. They keep you engaged and focused while having no real-world consequences if you mess up.
In recovering seniors, a VR game with a treadmill can help them get used to walking, with obstacles they have to overcome, but not falling over as they would with obstacles in the real world.
Meanwhile, exercise games keep you moving indoors and can naturally scale with your physical abilities, which is fantastic for seniors. Remaining active is vital for seniors who want to stay independent and healthy for years to come.