A brief look into video games for older adults

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Popcap, the game developer behind the famous Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled, surveyed older adults playing video games in 2016. They found that 71 percent who played are over 40 years of age, while 47 percent are over 50. This survey proved that seniors playing video games shouldn’t be as surprising as most people think.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Since that Popcap survey, many studies have associated older adults with playing video games. One of which is the 2019 study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The AARP concluded that Americans aged 50 years and older enjoy playing video games, most playing at least five hours a week.

The number of American adults from the same age group engaged in video games jumped from 38 percent in 2016 to 44 percent in 2019, adding another 10 million individuals to the gaming community.

If there are older adults in the family, it’s good to look for new ways to encourage them to become more engaged and active. With this article, you will know what more they can do aside from sports and bingo nights.

Reasons Video Games Are Beneficial for the Elderly

The same AARP study stated that older individuals play video games to reduce stress and stay mentally sharp and engaged.

Another study conducted on 140 seniors aged 63 years old found that regular and occasional gamers showed excellent emotional well-being and social functioning. Additionally, the same study found that the subjects had lower risks of depression compared to those who didn’t play.

Video Games Ideal for Older Adults

According to the AARP study, among the popular video games for adults 50 years and older are puzzles and logic games (50 percent), card and tile games (48 percent), and trivia, word, and traditional board video games (24 percent).

With the latest technologies providing easier access to different video games, older adults won’t have a hard time playing their favorites on their devices. These are some of the best video games for them:

Jigsaw Puzzles

The good thing about an online jigsaw puzzle is that players can jump immediately from one to the other even if they have yet to finish solving it. They can also upload their preferred photos and turn them into challenging puzzles.

As they are online, there’s no need to stress over making a mess of puzzle pieces in the living room. This takes out the factor of a game feeling more like a chore than something to enjoy.

Like I’m a Puzzle, many jigsaw puzzle apps offer various categories or designs, ranging from artworks to animals. Players can also adjust the level of difficulty for every puzzle design chosen.


Chess is a classic strategy game that requires a lot of analysis and problem-solving. This type of game is excellent for keeping the brain stimulated, which improves memory and cognitive ability.

Platforms like chess.com are open to all levels of chess players. If you’re a beginner, the site will let you play against opponents on the same level, which presents an opportunity to be socially interactive. Players can also use this platform to sharpen their skills with computer-generated opponents.


The objective of Wordscapes is simple. Players will form the needed words from the scrambled letters provided, with the game getting more challenging after every puzzle. This game combines the traditional jumbled letters with a crossword puzzle, making it an excellent casual brain exercise for older adults.

Wordscapes is available for free on Android and Apple devices.

video games for old folks

Trivia Games

Trivia video games are great for engaging the minds of older adults. Digging deep while answering trivia questions is an excellent form of mental activity, which helps improve cognitive skills. And they’re also great for social interactions, like on game nights.

Websites like the Random Trivia Generator help provide great trivia questions that anyone can play privately or with a group.

Candy Crush

Candy Crush is a classic puzzle game for older adults and one of the most popular games of all time. And chances are, older adults in the family are familiar with this game already.

Its traditional, uncomplicated objective keeps getting more engaging. Its thousands of available levels and overall design make Candy Crush an addictive, fun game perfect for filling time.

Candy Crush is available for free on Android and Apple devices.

World of Warcraft

A surprising study found that this Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) can boost the cognitive function of older adults. This is especially true among those who did poorly on cognitive ability tests before playing World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft offers a unique escape for players who enter into a character’s life, fighting monsters while completing missions and interacting with other players. This game is perfect for older adults looking for more adventurous ways to fill the time while continuously engaging the mind.

If you have World of Warcraft on your PC, it’s grandma and grandpa’s turn to play now. 

Words with Friends

Words with Friends is a multiplayer vocabulary game with the objective of Scrabble. This game is real-time, so players can quickly answer back with their moves. Players can also leave and return to the game anytime, so it’s not disruptive. Plus, the game also sends notifications for every action.

The Words with Friends is free to play on Facebook, but it’s also available for download on Android and Apple devices.  

Super Mario 3D World

In 2020, the Super Mario 3D World was one of the games used in a study, which concluded that playing video games helps improve significant aspects of memory in seniors.

Super Mario 3D World is an enjoyable linear platform game mixed with open-world exploration for a more immersive experience. Players go through fun objectives while defeating challenges, collecting power-ups, and more. 

The Super Mario 3D World can be a great bonding activity with a multiplayer option. So, older adults can play this game with the rest of the family.

Super Mario 3D World is available on the Wii console or Nintendo Switch.

Monitor Elderly’s Game Time

Video games can help seniors become more mentally engaged, active and social. Still, older adults can also be susceptible to video game addiction. So, it’s best to monitor their game time and check for the early signs while they play.

Video Games Are for Everyone

Although many seniors think video games are childish, many studies prove otherwise. Video games can help older adults improve cognitive ability, social functioning, and overall mental and physical well-being. With today’s technology, older adults will have access to different video games and reap the benefits of playing.

What do you think? What video games would you recommend for older adults? Please share your thoughts on any of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.


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