The internet offers many kinds of entertainment that can have additional benefits for seniors. One of the most popular of these diversions is video games, which studies have shown can stimulate the hippocampus and bolster functional brain activity. Aside from sharpening your cognitive skills, games can also simply be a fun and rewarding way to pass the time. Even if you're living in an assisted living community like Autumn View Gardens in Ellisville, with a full calendar of social events to enrich daily life, you can still get both fun and cognitive health benefits by making a little room in your schedule for video gaming.
We list below a few choices for senior-friendly, free or free-to-play video games. The internet holds many more possibilities; this guide simply provides a place to start. Remember that the games mentioned here may require gaming consoles, desktop computers, tablets or mobile phones to play. Most of them can be played on multiple platforms.
Before we start looking at the games themselves, it's important to define the difference between a "free" game and a "free-to-play" one.
A "free" game is the full version of a game, often a fairly simple one, that's hosted online at a site that usually funds itself by serving up ads to visitors. With "free-to-play" or F2P games, a basic version of the game is available for free under the assumption that players will eventually want to purchase additional content in order to play the game at a more advanced level.
You don't have to buy more content in a free-to-play game, and it's important to be wary of getting too wrapped up in doing so. F2P games are designed to tempt you into spending at least some amount of money on them, and some are more insistent than others. Where this guide recommends a F2P title as opposed to a free one, we've tried to go with the options that provide the most fun at their basic level and are least obnoxious about encouraging players to buy added content.
You can find a wide range of online versions of familiar board games online. Some of the games most commonly recommended as being senior-friendly include:
Many classic versions of video game franchises — games that often invented whole genres of computerized play and pioneered a subculture of video gamers from thirty years ago or more — are freely available online.
These F2P games are more technically advanced and up-to-date than the free offerings, but they may still be ideal for players of all skill and experience levels.
The selection of video games enjoyable for seniors, and useful for cognitive health, goes well beyond these twelve examples. We hope you'll find this an engaging point of departure for discovering more about how video games can improve your assisted living community experience.
Bethesda Foundaion is not associated with the Bethesda Health Group of St. Louis, MO.