Can video games make seniors more social?

Alan Wu

April 5, 2011

While many older adults want to spend their golden years at home, this can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation. A new study conducted at La Trobe University in Australia has found that one of the best solutions to this problem could be to grab a controller and start playing video games. 

Dr. Dennis Wollersheim studied women aged 56 to 84 who visited a planned activity group twice a week for a 12-week period and found that, by adding a Nintendo Wii to the setting, people instantly connected and became more physically active.

"Older persons are at risk of isolation and have low levels of physical activity, both of which are associated with negative health outcomes," he said. "In this study, we explored the feasibility of incorporating the Nintendo Wii into a PAG setting to assess the physical and psychosocial effects."

Seniors living alone may also want to consider investing in a personal emergency response system. This device allows users to instantly send a medical alert if they have suffered an unexpected injury and require assistance.

Playing the Wii regularly may also help close the generational gap between grandparents and their grandchildren, because they are typically easier to play and can be enjoyed by several generations.