Gaming for health and happiness


Last weekend, it was announced—again—that a senior citizen bowled a perfect score on Nintendo’s Wii Bowling. But if you’ve been following your video gaming news, you know that Rhea Freeman, 85, of Houma, La. isn’t the first senior to perfect the game!

Earlier this year, Dayton, Ohio resident Jack Davis, 86, announced that he had rolled 40 perfect games out of the 4,300 games attempted.

“I bowled when I was younger, but not like this,” Davis told his local paper. “If I bowled like this when I was league bowling in 1963, then I’d be a millionaire.”

Well, he’s not a millionaire but he sure is a local celebrity.

In addition to improving hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills, TIME magazine reported a few years back that Wii games can lead to weight loss and generate a positive psychological impact. In fact, research has even indicated that video games such as the ones played on Wii can be successfully used to treat seniors with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses of a psychological or psychosocial nature.

Sounds like the perfect winter work-out, right? So, what other games are ideal for seniors? Here’s a run-down:

Tetris: This classic game is available online and for almost every system. Having been around for ages, the puzzle game requires quick thinking and problem solving skills. But be careful: It’s addicting!

Brain Age: It’s a competitive, mental exercise game available in two editions that measures your brain age. Watch out, looks can be deceiving.

Dancing with the Stars: Can’t get enough of the show? Check out the game on Nintendo Wii. Great fun and exercise.

Sports Champions: Use your PlayStation Move motion controller as a paddle in table tennis or as a ball in a game of bocce. And when your grandchildren come over, they can go all out with a gladiator dual.

Grandparent games: This website uses games, videos, pictures and voice connection to connect elderly to grandchildren, starting with infants. They also have iPhone and IPod Touch apps.

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