The Positive Effects of Video Games on Older People

Getting old is something many people dread and something that some people even fear.  However no one can stay young forever.  Over the course of time, your body goes through physical changes, like greying hair and wrinkles.  With so much emphasis put on looking young, science and technology has made leaps and bounds in preventing, stopping, or at least altering those changes. 

Physical aging

When your hair greys, it can be dyed.  Also, wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging can be fixed with a little plastic surgery and a lot of money.  As nice, or detrimental depending on specific opinions, as these advances are to society, is there a way to stop, slow down, or even prevent mental aging?
Well, science and technology have not only come quite a way in keeping people looking young, but they have also made advances in keeping people thinking young too, although there is a long way to go.  Some of the worst diseases that affect someone’s cognitive condition, like Alzheimer’s, don’t have a cure yet.  So, since aging mentally is inevitable anyway and people are living longer than ever, some argue that playing different types of video games can actually be beneficial to an older person’s mental state.  One article published in Time by Anna Hamilton argues for the benefits.  Although there is no cure or magic vaccination for memory loss yet, evidence suggests that games can at least slow the effects.  Along with eating healthy and exercising, being socially active and challenging yourself mentally are two great ways to slow down mental decline.

Playing interactive games

Today’s games are increasingly a social event.  New technologies allow players to meet, socialize, and play with others all over the world.  And even if you aren’t into the Internet and playing online, many games allow for multiple players and most game systems have multiple controller outlets.  Additionally, video games are such a huge part of youth culture that even if an elderly person cannot find another to play with, children and grandchildren may be happy to oblige!  Furthermore, new game systems like the Wii and the Playstation Move actually encourage physical activity.  So, if exercise does really help slow down mental decline, then playing those types of games will challenge you mentally and give you exercise.  Video games come in all types of difficulty and some are much more fast paced than others.  But, they all have one thing in common:  they are mentally challenging.  Some elderly individuals may have never played video games before and may be intimidated or overwhelmed by the technology.  However, giving it a try and reaping the benefits may prove to be very successful in the long run.

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