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Wii Are Family

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Written by Galia Myron Wednesday, 25 April 2012 09:02

Boomers and Matures may benefit from playing their grandkids’ games.

A collection of studies from Germany, Australia, Spain, and other nations have found that seniors may enjoy cognitive and physical benefits from playing video games, particularly those that involve exercise. The research, chronicled in the bimonthly peer-reviewed Games for Health Journal, also says that additional benefits include socializing and just having fun.

 "The elderly often forsake their lifelong activities in exchange for the safety, security, and care of institutional living," Bill Ferguson, PhD, editor-in-chief of the Games for Health Journal, said publicly. "This trade-off need not require the sacrifice of physical activity and fitness. Furthermore, videogames offer an escape from routine. All of these benefits can improve the well-being of elderly adults."

Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M International University, has an extensive background in the effects of video games on behavior.

“I think that this line of research points out how important it is to keep our minds and bodies active even as we age,” Ferguson, who is of no relation to Bill Ferguson and was not involved in this study, says. “We know that video games are both cognitively stimulating and also engaging for youth, now we're seeing it is the same for older adults as well.”

“My impression is that video games are certainly not the only opportunity for seniors to remain engaged,” he adds. “However, they are one potential positive outlet.”

Previous research has found that gaming, including exergaming, which combines gaming with exercise, helps combat depression in older adults. 



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