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Video games have always been a great way to escape the real world. They allow you to have some fun, let out some aggression and learn new things. We have tremendously come a long way from the first digital game which came out in 1972, called Pong. Although video games attract the younger community, studies have shown they have an unlocked potential to train our brains, especially the one of a senior. For example, a 71-year-old woman by the name of Kathy Lasky spends three times a week, three hours a day at San Diego Community College playing video games.
Three hours a day may seem like a lot for some people, but according to Kathy, people should evaluate how much a day they spend watching tv, scrolling through Facebook and talking on the phone. Which bring up an excellent point. The number one goal for most seniors is to stay independent as long as possible and if three hours of the day can help them do so, then why not?
A study called A.C.T.I.V.E, which stands for Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly took part in 10 one-hour speed training session in a course of 5 weeks. About a decade later the study showed that it lowered the risk of developing dementia by 33%. Also, there were patients who decided to take longer sessions, which lowered their risk to 48%. There are many factors that go into decreasing the risk of developing dementia. Not only can video games help your cognitive ability, but it also increases your thinking speed. For example, a popular game named Double Decision shows that the speed of processing may be as important or more important than memory or reasoning. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta if you want to reduce your risk of dementia later on, focus on speed.
We’ve also noticed that some assisted living facilities in Central Florida have several games in their community for seniors. For example, we’ve seen resident’s play games such as Wii Bowling, engage with touchscreen technology such as IN2L, and also play with iPads. Trivia games on the television bring smiles on faces as well as bring back memories.
In conclusion, video games have many benefits when it comes to increasing the cognitive ability in seniors. A study at Duke University has one goal, they are trying to have doctors prescribe video games like they would with medicine. Instead of pills, you get a controller and according to Dr. Gupta we not far off from that happening. Like stated before, the number one goal for most seniors is to stay independent as long as possible. If video games are going to help do so, I guess it’s time to sit down, relax and have some fun.