New & Notable | Why Video Games For Seniors Are a Smart Idea

Should Grandma be playing Grand Theft Auto? Is she more suited to Elden Ring? Let her play! Video games have proven to offer tremendous cognitive and social benefits to the elderly, as Dr Maria Shapoval ND reports in the Canadian Journal Of Naturopathic Medicine.

In today’s New & Notable, we are talking to Dr Philip Rouchotas ND and Dr Maria Shapoval ND of the Canadian Journal of Naturopathic Medicine about the science behind the cognitive benefits of video games, as described in her article “Physical, Cognitive, and Social Impacts of Video Games in an Elderly Population”. 

Key Take-Aways


Keep the elderly active
Elderly patients in general need to remain mentally active. In previous years activities may have included games of chess or bridge. The findings of this article provide objective science showing that if people play video games in their elder years, it has a powerful, positive impact for their brain. 

Social impacts
Some video games include a physical activity component. Studies found that these physical-component video games have a better impact on loneliness and social health. This may in part be because the cardiovascular and circulation-related benefits elevate a gamer’s mood.

Luminosity is an online community that engages the elderly in games designed to improve cognition through a host of memory games. When the elderly are encouraged by healthcare practitioners to subscribe to online gaming communities, they benefit from improved mood, cognition and social engagement.

Virtual reality games
Emerging games include a virtual reality component, which tend to be more of a movie experience as opposed to being an interactive game. Some new games involving virtual reality also possess a physical component. These types of games, including those with neurofeedback, hold promise for the future. 

Gender and gaming
Gaming is presently a male-dominated discipline. Going forward, more games ought to be created by women for enjoyment by women of all ages.

Key Quotes  


“More than interest in the game, their motivation for coming back was to raise their score.”
Dr Maria Shapoval ND

“It's really important for these games to start evolving where they engage a whole family, to bring a story that would be interesting not just the young but also the elderly, because that way there's a lot more compliance, there's a lot more engagement.”
Dr Maria Shapoval ND



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