Can Interactive Video Games Keep You Young?
Q: My mom is 84 years old and going into an assisted living community. It has bingo nights, movies, and piano recitals, but that doesn't seem like enough activity. What can I do to make sure she doesn't become stagnant?
-- Adele M., Montreal, Canada
A: It's time to get your mom in on the craze that's sweeping retirement communities all over North America: exer-games! If she walks in there with interactive video games, she'll be more popular than Frank Sinatra at the Sands Hotel!
Interactive video bowling leagues in retirement communities are huge. There are tournaments and even intercommunity rivalries. Many communities have get-up-and-move programs for everything from yoga to golf, skiing, soccer, and even curling.
Older folks who get active with these games reap many physical, mental, and social benefits. A couple of years ago we told you that as you advance in age, video games can help stimulate your brain, preventing cognitive decline and memory and muscle (yes, muscle) loss -- especially if the games challenge you to think about and do new things. Now with the added element of physical exercise, interactive video games can help prevent or delay the onset of dementia while improving overall brain and muscle function.
It's no wonder the National Science Foundation is putting $1.2 million into a four-year study to investigate if and how video games slow cognitive decline. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also pledged $8.5 million to study the impact of video games on everything from Alzheimer's disease to driving skills.
You don't need to wait for the results, though. Help Mom settle into her new home and improve her mental and physical well-being with fun and interactive video games.