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Using Technology to Age Safely

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Technology can be an incredibly useful tool for transforming nearly every aspect of our lives. The only problem is that there are so many powerful benefits to technology, that many of them often end up going unnoticed by those of us who are simply unaware.

Technology can help us to age more safely. And there are numerous ways that this can happen. Of course, there are those technologies designed to help us stay safer. That includes things like home security, and also things like medical alert systems (find out more on this website). But tech never designed for health or aging can also be highly transformative…

Computer Games for Aging

Here is some surprising news: gaming has incredible therapeutic benefits for the elderly.

For someone who can’t get around that easily, it’s easy to imagine what the appeal of exploring a virtual world might be. But at the same time there may also be therapeutic benefits to gaming and this is also something worth considering if you’re considering introducing your Gran to GTA V.

You see countless studies have demonstrated that the onset of dementia and other ‘age related cognitive decline’ can be delayed through the use of brain training and other exercises designed to exercise the grey matter. It seems that with the brain, it’s very much a case of ‘use it or lose it’, with those who enjoy reading, playing chess and socializing managing to keep their brain sharper until they’re much older. And computer games can do the exact same thing – they have been shown countless times to improve special reasoning, short term memory, attention, non-verbal reasoning and a range of other abilities. They even improve visual acuity.

But these days, gaming goes beyond just the cognitive and can sometimes also involve the physical. The Wii for instance was the massive hit that it was precisely because it utilised a different form of input that anyone could engage with. Playing Wii games is a case of waving controllers around and getting physically active which is not only more accessible to someone less familiar with computer games, but might also help them to improve muscle mass, posture and more. The days of the Wii are over, VR gaming will likewise help to keep us more active going forward.

Right now virtual reality isn’t quite widely available and nor is it a perfected technology. But if you ignore that for a second, it’s actually already possible to enjoy a great number of experiences through gaming. It may not be the same as being there, but any gamer knows that you can create some very real emotions and enjoy a very real feeling of discovery just by sitting in front of the TV with a controller in hand. My Granddad currently spends most of his time with his head in a book or a newspaper – which is presumably largely because it offers some escape from the reality of caring for my Grandma 24/7.

But seeing as he can use a computer, I’m now wondering why he doesn’t also have a go at playing computer games. Sure, he might find Mario a little puerile, and COD a little violent, but these days there are plenty of games out there that don’t fit these clichéd molds. Take for instance the amazing game ‘Journey’ on PS3. This is a game that encourages exploration, that has beautiful artistic visuals, and that allows for silent communication with other people across the world. There are plenty more experiences like this on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC and I really think he would appreciate them if he gave them a chance.

And it’s not just me who thinks this. Apparently, the number of senior citizens now enjoying gaming has gone up considerably in recent years, and there are now even websites out there dedicated specifically to elderly gaming.

The days of computer games being a niche hobby for geeky teenagers is over. These days it is for everyone and everyone can benefit from its numerous advantages – especially as they age and more active sports and activities become more difficult.