We often hear the woes of elder generations begrudging today’s young digital geeks, longing for the days when a stick and a hoop was all they needed to transport themselves into a fantasy-play world with kings, princesses and monsters. Conversely, we’re also used to youngsters rolling entitled eyes as they lament how on earth anyone could derive joy out of Sunday-night Skip-Bo.
Sealing the Gap
If you could transport an 80-year-old back in time 60 years and try to explain the concept of using a smart phone to download games, they’d probably laugh you into one of those old-school insane asylums where lobotomies were given out like condoms at a pride parade.
Now consider where technology might be in another 60 years, it’s utterly incomprehensible to us right now; we’ll be the ones grasping at straws as we try and figure out how to upload the latest “nano-enamel” install to our super dentures. The world is funny like that, and has been since the dawn of time and will continue to be with every new trend and era.
Grandparents are often intimidated by technology they don’t understand, and children are notoriously impatient and don’t have the tutorial skills of their elders. So both parties end up becoming flustered and growing further apart. Schools such as West Virginia State are coming to the rescue, offering older folks, or anyone who is game-illiterate, classes on how to use the Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. These two-hour classes meet once a week, offering attendees their own instructor and expert. The basics of the gaming system can be learned in just four sessions.
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Teaching “old dogs” new tricks has a surprising number of positive side effects. Using simple games such as “Solitaire” or online slot casinos helps Grandma get her feet wet in the online world, then she can gradually work up from there. Aside from the confidence gained while learning a new skill, VentureBeat.com reports that “research indicates that gaming for seniors counters depression, improves balance, provides exercise and improves mental health.“
This has inspired many senior centers and nursing homes to integrate Nintendo Wii and host online gaming competitions as opposed to traditional senior activities like bingo. This can stimulate the social and problem-solving parts of the brain while giving aging bodies some much-needed exercise. Senior women learning to play video games can also help bridge the gap between themselves and the grandchildren whose lives they long to be a part of.
Another tertiary benefit is that, once they feel more comfortable with one electronic device, they will be more likely to purchase and feel comfortable with others, helping them to connect even more with this rapidly changing world.
About the Author: Angela Reynolds is a freelance writer who loves to pass along money-saving tips for families in middle America. She has one husband, two sons and three Labrador retrievers.