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Interactive video games have been proven to increase health and the quality of life of many senior citizens. Not only are you able to feel younger, but you are also engaging with others to help build companionship - not to mention you will have a blast doing it.

For senior citizens across the country, participatory video games - or ?exergames? - like those found on Nintendo?s Wii and Xbox 360 can provide a fun, competitive alternative to common board games, card games or Bingo that adds a physical activity component. In a 2008 study done by the University of Illinois, it was found that adults aged 60 to 70 years old were able to improve their cognitive function by playing strategic video games. Psychology Professor Arthur Kramer served as an author on the study and found positive results from seniors playing video games. ?Those who did well in the game also improved the most on switching between tasks,? said Kramer. ?This is one mode in which older people can stay mentally fit, cognitively fit.?

Though many senior citizens today would struggle to pick up a bowling ball, the Wii versions of these sports remove many of the physical hurdles, enabling older participants to enjoy the activity. In 2010, a study done by researchers at Elon University in North Carolina measured results of ?exergame? participation by senior citizens. The study found that not only was strength and balance improved, but their ?Wii Age,? or age of their virtual character within the game, had decreased by an average of eight years.


Even for senior citizens who live alone, a video gaming system can greatly enhance quality of life and provide incentive to get some physical activity. Exergames can be played with just two people, such as a senior citizen and her caregiver, and the activity will not only improve health, but it can also assist in building trust. It can be very difficult to get and maintain a senior citizen?s interest in something new, but something as novel and nostalgic as Wii bowling, golf, tennis, baseball and boxing may be just the ticket.

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