Video games often get a bad rap. Two University of Montreal and Institute University of Geriatrics of Montreal studies found they’re actually quite helpful. In these two studies, psychologists studied the brains of a number of 20-somethings who’d been asked to play a series of 3D platform games.
The results found that the young adults all showed signs of increased gray matter in the brain. The increases were in sections of the brain that control memories of past experiences, memories of how a town or home is laid out, and memories of where things are located.
Moving the Study to Elderly Participants
Based on the outcome of this study, the researchers recruited 33 senior citizens to participate. Some of the seniors were asked to play Super Mario 64 for half an hour each day for five days a week. Some were asked to take piano lessons for the very first time. The rest were not assigned any task. This study lasted for six months.
Before starting the tests, all seniors had an MRI of the brain completed. They were also issued cognitive tests to see where their cognitive skills were. At the end of the six months, the same tests and MRI were issued.
After the six months concluded, the seniors who’d been assigned video games had an increase in the gray matter. Short-term memory skills also improved. The other seniors did not have any improvements.
What Are 3D Platform Games?
With a 3D platform game, you’re guiding a character through a 3D word by solving problems, timing jumps correctly, and climbing from one platform/area to the next. While navigating the area, you also have to watch for obstacles and make the right moves to avoid them.
These games include series like Castlevania, Crash Bandicoot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Mario 3D. That’s just a small sampling of the 3D platform games available for systems like PlayStation or Xbox.
Some Games Also Help With Physical Fitness
Consoles like the Wii that also track body movements can also help your parent get enough exercise. Games like Wii Bowling work the muscles through the motions you make while bowling. Dance games get your parent up and copying dance movies. Some games also have fitness videos like Zumba that help seniors get plenty of daily exercise.
Exercising the body and mind are important at any age. Make sure your mom and dad get daily exercise. It helps with balance, weight, and even mental well-being. They may need someone to encourage them each day. Caregivers can do that.
Senior care services help your parent stay active and healthy by assisting with tasks your parent finds challenging. Caregivers can carry laundry downstairs, take your parent shopping for groceries, and cook meals. Find out more about these and other benefits of caregivers by calling a senior care agency.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Plainsboro, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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