The young shouldn’t have all the fun, oldies want to be gamers too
ELDERLY people are open to the idea of integrating video games into their daily lives to boost brain power and keep active, research shows.
However, some barriers unique to seniors need to be overcome, experts say, including the difficulties for older people of manipulating multiple buttons on controllers and the threat of skin damage from overuse.
The first issue of a new peer-reviewed journal devoted to gaming and health includes papers focusing on the growing interest in developing digital games that will appeal to the elderly.
Focus groups in three European countries found people aged 60-plus were keen to integrate physical and cognitive activity in the same game, with suggestions for incorporating karate, tennis or dancing into games as well as brain training or learning opportunities.
The participants rejected violence in games and while wanting to be challenged they did not relish the idea of competition, suggesting they wanted to play “with” rather than “against” others, and preferably in the same room rather than on the internet.
Ideas for learning through gaming included a focus on travel, cooking and “first aid, because sometimes you find yourself in a situation and do not know how to act”.
Already, gaming technology is being integrated into stroke therapy and strength training, experts say.They called for a new game classification system to categorise the suitability of games for older adults.
Games for Health Journal 2012; 1:115-123, 139-150