Video games have received a lot of negative attention over the years and when we think of them we often envisage teens spending any spare time they might have sat in-front of a screen, pressing buttons and shooting things.
While we certainly wouldn’t recommend spending hours on end in-front of a screen playing a game, research has indicated that there are cognitive benefits to them, which are particularly useful for older people.
Playing a video game means you have to think and act quickly to tackle the task in hand, which can help the brain remain flexible. They also require players to visually track an object or person across the screen and interpret data, improving visual processing and being able to distinguish between subtle differences.
Playing the same game on a regular basis can help improve short-term memory and help people remember things such as dates, times and names a lot easier. Many games require the player to multi-task and keep different bits of information in their minds at the same time.
Keeping the brain active in lots of different functions is generally good for helping to reverse some of the effects of aging on the brain, so we’d certainly recommend you or an older loved-one to give video game playing a go.