Guest blog: 31.1.2021


Are video games bad for you? That’s what they said about rock’n roll…

A study conducted by North Carolina State University has shown seniors who play video games regularly or even occasionally report better overall emotional well-being.

The history of video games goes back as far as the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when video gaming really started to become the new craze for the youth. The first generations of home consoles and the booming arcade industry assured that almost every kid at least tried some of those early games. Many of us in their 60s right now have fond memories of playing the coin operated game called Computer Space. Some years later the ball and paddle type game Pong emerged and was one of the biggest hits for early home consoles.

Granny is shooting trolls

A growing number of seniors are re-warming their long-lost relationship with video games. Although teenage boys remain the most avid video game players, they’re being joined at the console by another group — their grandparents.

More than 10 million Americans age 50 and older became active video gamers over the past three years, according to an AARP survey. In 2016, there were 40 million senior gamers, a number that’s mushroomed to about 51 million in 2019, the survey found. 

Video games that offer a sense of online community and interaction are popular with older gamers because of the isolation many seniors feel, especially in these problematic days of various degrees of lockdown, due to the Covid-19 virus.

Grandpa is fighting Alzheimer’s

With an estimated 5.5 million seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s in the U.S. alone, treatment methods are heavily scrutinized and highly valued. Amazingly, recent research has even demonstrated a link between playing video games and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. 

CBS News wrote a story about an avid video gamer, Michelle Kelley age 73: 

Forza Horizon 4, a car racing game on Xbox. “It’s got cars that I currently own and cars that I owned as a teen,” Kelley, 73, said, mentioning the 1997 BMW E36 he likes to use in the game. “The one in the game is a coupe and mine is a convertible, so I can drive my own car in the game.”

A study of 140 seniors over 63 years old concluded that both regular and occasional video gamers reported greater well-being, social functioning, and health than non-gamers. In addition, they reported significantly lower rates of depression among people who play video games than those who don’t.

Complex strategy games have benefits for mental health, according to research. Such games help to improve memory and enhance cognitive skills. Playing these games can train the brain to maintain focus in other areas. The key is to improve at the game and continually be learning. Ezriel Kornel, M.D., of Brain and Spine Surgeons of New York in Westchester County, says new synapses form between the neurons in the brain when it’s learning something new, and these connections can be used in other situations.

Serious senior snipers

The trend looks to be catching on elsewhere too. In the final match of the Senior CS:GO World Cup at Dreamhack Summer, one of Europe’s biggest gaming festivals, in June 2019, the Silver Snipers from Sweden defeated the Grey Gunners, a Finnish senior e-sports team.

The average age of the five-member Silver Snipers team, which was recruited and sponsored by technology company Lenovo in 2018, is 67. One of its members is Inger ‘Trigger Finger’ Grotteblad, 68. In gaming parlance, Grotteblad is slowly becoming a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive veteran, having spent close to 1,000 hours playing the game, which she first came to know about through her grandchildren.

So, maybe in the near future, being a semi serious FPS (first person shooter) player myself, I might be able to start my third career as an E-sports professional in the senior category! Until then, I’ll just keep shooting monsters and saving the Universe. Because it feels good!

#ShareAndCare #Navigil #AgeIsAdventure


Design enthusiast, health writer and oldest son.

”Dad was my first hero”