Games to Keep You Young
Are video games the new fountain of youth?
Stress Relief and Social Time
TerryAnn Holzgrafe, 45, a teacher of disabled students in Rio Rico, Ariz.,
plays the spelling game Bookworm Adventures both for fun and as a teaching tool
in her classroom. She also formed a Bookworm Adventures’ ladies club, a group
of 40-something women who gather at a local coffeehouse to discuss game
“These games have the unusual ability to de-stress as well as engage one’s
brain,” she says. “I play them to relax at various points during the day, and I
play them very late at night when I’m having trouble sleeping.”
There’s a real value at the emotional level, says Kornel, who enjoys Guitar
Hero. “Reducing stress can help with clarity of thought,” he says.
Michael Caputo, 47, owner of an advertising agency in the North Quabbin
Region of Massachusetts, gets a kick out of playing Rock Band with his kids and
appreciates the ribbing that goes along with the intergenerational
entertainment. “Rock Band has music I like and music they like. They deal with
me singing ‘Green Grass’ and ‘High Times’ and I deal with them singing ‘Dani
California,’” he says.
He also enjoys playing HALO, a best-selling sci-fi game on Xbox, into the
wee hours of the morning and admits he is one of the older players. Six years
ago, he started playing HALO2 with a group of guys he knew from church and
Although Caputo is a fan of socializing through games, he says he isn’t
aware of any health benefits. “I suppose you would equate it with any
anticipated fun event that you look forward to and have positive memories
immediately following,” he says.
Slowing the Aging Process
Retirement homes across the country have added Wii nights with tennis,
bowling, and other sports to their rotation of activities. The Atlantic
Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey is currently using Wii games to help
stroke and other rehab patients with recovering motor function.
What about toying with games to prevent memory loss? Unfortunately, playing
games can’t ward off disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia, Kornel says, but you
may be able to slow the progression of the symptoms to some extent.
“Older people have to feel like what they are doing is doing
something,” McLaughlin says. “They might want to stay away from video games
because they would be a waste of time. But if it has a purpose, then it might
be more worthwhile.”
So even though the verdict is out on whether video games are the new
fountain of youth, there’s nothing stopping you from joining in the fun -- and
hey, you might even feel rejuvenated!