The video game industry has been increasing in the last decade. It was only compounded by the recent coronavirus pandemic that forced many of us to stay inside at home for months at a time. This has led to many new demographics taking up gaming as a hobby who would have never previously considered themselves gamers. The rise of senior gaming has shown that video games are not just for kids. There are some excellent reasons for seniors to pick up gaming as a hobby.
Seniors probably aren’t the first demographic you’d associate with gaming, but video games have significantly broadened in demographic scope and appeal within the last decade. More and more games are being developed that cater to all sorts of different niches. One of these demographics that would have once been considered niche is the rise of seniors who play games. There are several reasons why video games are becoming more popular among seniors and can be beneficial.
There are many different video games, and the industry’s explosion in popularity over recent decades has led to an almost endless list of available games. Many of these games can often be very cheap to acquire, with mobile games regularly offering free or freemium versions. This means that gaming is a hobby that doesn’t require a lot of investment to begin, but doing so can provide some significant benefits.
Certain types of video games are more likely to appeal to seniors. Fast-paced games with lots of action that require quick reflexes are not expected to be of many benefits to many, but slow-paced games that rely more on cognitive than mechanical skills make for perfect choices. Puzzle and card games tend to be popular choices that meet these criteria. Luckily, it’s straightforward to play these games online, making them very accessible choices on almost any modern device.
Games that replicate board games are also a great choice. These can be played at the player’s own pace and often encourage socializing, providing a helpful activity for seniors and caregivers to bond over. There are many different types of board games for many players, whether just two people are playing or a whole group. Group games should be encouraged to provide socialization opportunities and to help keep mental skills sharp.
Video game board games can even be more convenient than the traditional board games themselves in many cases. There’s no need to keep track of all the little pieces, and there’s no need to set everything up or pack it away when finished, as it’s all done automatically for you in the other virtual form! This helps reduce barriers to play sessions and provides more opportunities for spontaneous game sessions when they’re so easy to start and stop.
Another advantage of gaming is its accessibility. Mobile gaming on cell phones and tablets, in particular, can be played at almost any time of day or from any location. Whether a senior is having trouble sleeping at night or is looking for something to occupy their mind while waiting for appointments, a cell phone or tablet can provide some quick, welcome entertainment. A game like Freecell solitaire is quick and easy to pick up and play at any time. Games are short, and they can be interrupted at any time, such as when being called in for an appointment at a hospital or doctor’s office.
The challenges video games provide and the interaction required help set them apart from other forms of entertainment, like watching TV or streaming movies. The active thought process needed to play, combined with the thought problems and challenges posed by puzzle games and the like, can help stave off mental decline in seniors. Let’s not forget that video games are also meant to be fun and a source of entertainment, helping to keep seniors in good spirits.
Studies have shown the potential for video games to help prevent or slow the progress of diseases like Alzheimer’s, but they can also help improve cognitive functions, such as memory. The ability of video games to help stave off a decline in memory and other cognitive functions can provide a massive boost to a senior’s quality of life.
Though the focus has been on slower and more casual games, as video games become more popular and more widespread, so does the range of games that appeal to all demographics. Fast-paced and challenging video games can help improve agility and hand-eye coordination, and online video games can provide both cooperative and competitive social opportunities. Seniors who consider themselves more avid gamers are likely to benefit from games like these, which require a sharp focus and quick reactions but provide plenty of mental stimulation and challenge.
A Fun Hobby for Seniors
Video games are a great choice of hobby for seniors due to their convenience, variety, and social and cognitive benefits. They are a relatively cheap source of entertainment with wide availability and a vast range of choices on offer. Video games won’t appeal to everyone, but for those that enjoy them, there is an almost endless variety of games on offer that cater to all tastes and capabilities. Also a great way to engage in an activity with grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Darshan Somashekar is a serial founder. He previously founded Drop.io, which was acquired by Facebook, and Imagine Easy Solutions which is now owned by Chegg. Recently, he started Solitaired, as a fun way to do brain training with classic card games.