Videogames and the elderly

Senior year of high school, my parents announced that we were getting a wii.  Ecstatic, I imagined I’d be playing hours of super smash with my friends and eventually taking it to college with me.  The exact opposite happened.  My parents became obsessed. Not with a bunch of games, just one – tennis on wii sports.  They have playing this exact same game for 4 years now with the same excitement they’ve had the day they got it.  Going home this weekend I witnessed them playing the game yet again as competitive as ever and decided to do some research on older people and videogames.

The first thing I found was a hilarious clip by the AARP designed to introduce video games to the elderly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajmxkMfeLJo).  They describe different video game consoles as “boxes” and think its fun when spongebob jumps around. I started looking up more ways in which the elderly can learn using video games. I stumbled across an interesting article  (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/30/arts/30seni.html?pagewanted=all)  regarding the elderly and apparently they are much more into videogames than I originally thought.

Erickson Retirement Communities, which houses over 19,000 residents around the country, has installed Wii’s at each of its 18 locations.  Wii games are used in nursing homes to promote exercise through bowoling and golf.  This also helps stimulate brain activity to slow down aging. Even PopCap games such as Bejweled and Chuzzle are capturing the attention of the older generations especially women. Online games are not only fun but it’s a way for older ladies to chat and communicate with their friends. You may be surprised but many of these older people hold high scores for these popular games.  Its great to see that video games can be for all ages and are making a positive impact on older generations.

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