Usually, when you think video games, you think young people glued to a screen, controller in hand, for hours at a time, you don’t think of retirement homes. But since the introduction of interactive video games with Nintendo’s Wii system, more and more people across all generations are getting up and moving, benefiting from the active entertainment.
Wii in retirement homes
With Nintendo Wii closing the generation gap in gaming, retirement homes in Ontario are taking advantage of the system to encourage elderly residents to stay active, socialize and have fun. There are number of reasons it is valuable to have a Nintendo Wii in a Niagara retirement home, including:
Studies have shown that seniors who play Wii have better balance than those who don’t. While walking and other motor skills seem to be second nature, requiring little to no conscious effort, as we age, they do require some cognition. This means that it is possible that poor brain health may relate to high rates of falls. Playing video games help to maintain seniors’ walking speed and overall balance.
Decreased stress and depression
For those who deal with mental health issues, a 2011 study found that video games may lessen depression and anxiety. Participating in Wii games helps to boost moods and have both short- and long-term positive effects on seniors’ mentality by providing an outlet for stress and encouraging relaxation. Playing video games in a seniors’ home also encourages social interaction, which is a proven mood booster.
While the old wives’ tale claims that sitting too close to the TV damages your eyesight, video games may actually improve vision. A study at McMaster University found that seniors with cataracts may improve their vision by playing video games. Fast-paced Wii games cause rapid eye movement and require attention that exercises the brain and eyes.
At Emerald Retirement Residence, we encourage our residents to get moving with Wii games like Wii bowling and Wii golf. These games help to improve cardiovascular health, increasing blood flow and helping to burn calories too.
Want to see the benefits of Wii in person? Check out our activities calendar and book a tour!