We understand declining cognitive functions and working memory are associated with the aging process. And as our senior population increases at a rapid rate, this is often a concern. Mental training can slow down the process of memory decay, but typical mental training methods are not as stimulating as we might hope, and therefore interest may wane. In contrast, dedicated computer games specially developed for cognitive training can serve the purpose while being entertaining at the same time.
With the advancement in computer technology and physical limitations of board games in cognitive care, video games are now being used to treat memory problems. Video games are games that are played on gadgets like smart phones, tablets, computers, or laptops. Compared to old board games, video games have more variety and can be specifically tailored for memory care. As a result, video games have already captured the attention of researchers in Serious Games for Dementia Care (SGDC).
There are numerous advantages when it comes to playing video games. Studies have shown that the experience of playing video games can improve mental health, such as enhanced contrast sensitivity, better visual coordination, and higher memory.
In addition to providing entertainment, video games have the benefit of being used in combination with different therapies. For example, some video games have added music therapy, in which players are guided to play a song, even improvising their music. Music therapy is also an essential option in the management of seniors with memory ailments.
Playing video games has many benefits, especially for seniors. Video games help in relieving stress and keep your mind going. Some other benefits include
1. Mental Stimulation
Video games often make you think. When you are playing the game, there is coordination among all areas of your brain to make you think at a higher level. Playing games makes oneself think, strategize and analyze the following plan and results in better management abilities.
2. Feelings of Accomplishment
Each video game has specific goals to reach. When you achieve those, it provides a lot of satisfaction resulting in a positive mood, and improved behavior.
3. Mental Health Recovery
Video games can serve as a distraction for those with anxiety and psychological traumas. These games help people diagnosed with dementia to pass the time along while being entertained.
4. Emotional Resilience
Not being able to achieve a goal in a video game can be frustrating. Video games help you learn how to cope with disappointments and never lose hope. And multiplayer games involving other participants in the same game are a mode of social exposure fostering new friendships.
Video Games for People with Dementia
1. Online Puzzles
Most people enjoy jigsaw puzzles, and it can be a fun activity for people living with dementia, as long as they are not too difficult.
Puzzle games are available in a wide range of difficulty levels. Some websites can convert your old photos into puzzles, helping to remember things, triggering memories and conversations. A few of these websites are JIGIDI , im-a-puzzle.com and createjigsawpuzzles.com .
2. Coloring Websites
Colouring books are a popular hobby for children, but they are also fun and beneficial for adults. And, in recent years, these are proving useful as a treatment modality for people with dementia. Colouring websites are the digital form of coloring books. Online coloring works best on tablets and touchscreen laptops as it is easy to fill empty white spaces with colors. This activity is beneficial for us as we age and it may become more difficult to use a pen, pencil, or a mouse.
3. YouTube and Other Fun Videos
YouTube is a popular video-sharing platform with a vast record of videos even from decades ago! Watching these videos can help improve memory, whether it is oldies music, a TV show, or even a sports video.
4. Multiplayer Online Games
"Cognitive Training" activities are a key to slow down memory loss, especially in seniors in the early stages of dementia. Apart from mental training, these games can be fun to watch and find new friends for an occasional chat.
Video Games and Brain Changes
Playing 3d-Video games can help enhance grey matter in the brain's hippocampus, resulting in resilience and better memory, potentially reducing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Three-dimensional games force participants to be spatially aware and construct cognitive maps that they must bear in mind.
Memory Therapy and Virtual Reality
For seniors with mental decline who have assisted living, it is not easy to travel and roam around the places they love. Instead, they can experience their presence at their favorite places with the help of Virtual Reality.
The effect of video games on the brain is a new area of research that will continue to be explored. We may simply be scraping the surface of the potential that video games enhance our comprehension and reduce cognitive decline associated with aging.
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