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Five Ways Game Days Are Great for Senior Health

October 1, 2019

Game days are simple, straightforward and highly effective ways for seniors to relax, connect and most of all, have fun.

That is the goal of such organized activities at each of The Allure Group’s six skilled nursing facilities — to show seniors a good time, which has several residual benefits. Here are five:

  1. Game Days Stimulate the Mind

Games, especially word and logic puzzles, stimulate seniors’ minds and improve their moods. They offer a break from the usual routine, and help elderly individuals get involved in activities they enjoyed in their younger years. A more active mind is better able to solve problems, which means that seniors will be quicker to speak up if they’re feeling pain and/or if they encounter a dangerous situation.

Certain electronic games have even been shown to reverse cognitive decline, reducing a senior’s chances of developing dementia.

  1. Game Days Provide an Opportunity to Connect with Others

Isolation and loneliness are, according to a 2017 study by the American Psychological Association, a greater public health hazard than obesity. Some eight million seniors face such problems, and prolonged isolation has been equated to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Game days offer an antidote, in that they enable seniors to interact with one another. It might be as simple as seeing who can complete a crossword puzzle first, or even involve competing in video games. Either way, the social benefits are manifest.

  1. Game Days Improve Physical Well-Being

There is no end to the physical benefits of game days. Such activities as bocce and shuffleboard have been found to positively impact one’s heart, flexibility and strength. Games also decrease stress and leave one feeling more energetic.

Video games such as Wii Bowling offer similar benefits, as do things like SmartFit (a game not unlike Whack-a-Mole, which can be found in your typical amusement park) and Expresso Bike. Even board games have physical benefits, in that picking up or moving the pieces improve dexterity and coordination.

  1. Game Days Improve One’s Outlook

Positive thinking and a healthy mental state are just as significant as physical health. This idea holds true for all people, but it’s particularly important for seniors. As with those in other age groups, play brings them joy, makes them more optimistic and can go a long way toward preventing depression.

That last point is of particular importance. According to WebMD, some six million American aged 65 and over suffer from that malady, but only 10 percent undergo treatment. 

  1. Game Days Help Seniors Live Longer

A quote from George Bernard Shaw, the long-ago playwright and political activist, holds true today: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” And indeed, it has been shown that play improves the performance of one’s immune system, which reduces the risk of illness and goes a long way toward extending one’s lifespan.

Moreover, play improves one’s quality of life, in that it leads to spontaneity and living in the moment. And that is doubly true for seniors, who have reached a point in their lives where they have time to fill, not to mention new goals and new horizons.

As mentioned above, fun is a good thing — indeed, the best of things. And that, more than anything else, is what can be had during game days.

Categories: General