Think games consoles like the Nintendo Wii are just for kids? Think again. According to a survey by online discount voucher provider MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, 18% of over 60s now regularly play games, with one in three of these identifying the Nintendo DS as their favourite console.
While these figures may surprise some, it highlights a shift in gaming culture over the past few years – it is no longer the preserve of children. For instance, in the media the ‘care home residents playing on Wii’ story has been done to death in the past couple of years.
Games makers have also twigged this; I noticed over Christmas a crossword game on the DS being heavily advertised on television. Not wishing to disparage the intellect of today’s youth, but I’m willing to bet this game wasn’t aimed at them.
But this is not just pensioners finding a new way of filling their days, there is a serious side to gaming; for older people it can help to stimulate them mentally and physically, as well as helping them to connect with the younger generation.
Older people are encouraged to keep mentally stimulated – the ‘use it or lose it’ principle – and physical activity is good at any age.
The popularity of games like Brain Training, as well as things like Sudoku, demonstrate that on the mental side, while things like Wii Sports have got older people the nation over playing sports they never thought they would again.
Most of all, its fun and, especially with consoles like the Wii, it’s social as well. For older people in care homes or attending day centres, this gets everyone involved and active, rather than sat in a chair watching TV.