The Best Video Games for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents

Senior Couple Playing Video Games

The number of Americans over 50 who play video games has increased significantly in recent years. Video games are booming in older age groups, with research finding these games more popular among older women than older men. If you are an elderly person, or if you spend a lot of time with a senior, this isn’t likely a surprise. Video games can be a great way to maintain mental clarity, remain social, and add a bit of variety to otherwise set schedules – especially in nursing homes.

If you think you or your senior friend would enjoy playing a video game, you might have difficulty finding age-appropriate options. Most games are not explicitly marketed to the senior population. Below, we’ve listed a few video games seniors may enjoy, both for their entertainment value and educational potential. Plus, many of these games are inexpensive, allowing you to put more money toward important safety devices, like medical alert systems.

  • Flight Simulator Xtreme – One of the more exciting video games on our list, Flight Simulator Xtreme allows users to experience the thrill of steering an airplane. Players can complete missions, take passengers on commercial flights, and experience breathtaking aerial views. The virtual game even allows users to choose aircrafts from popular companies, like Learjet, Airbus, and Boeing. At one of the cheaper options on our list, this game costs just $10 and is downloadable on iPads.
  • Animal Crossing – Animal Crossing is a wonderful game for seniors. The social simulation video game series allows users to play as human characters who live in a village inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Common tasks and activities include fishing, fossil hunting, and bug catching. Importantly, Animal Crossing utilizes open-ended gameplay, which means players can discover challenges as the game progresses. The game also uses the gaming console’s clock and calendar to simulate the passage of real time – if you play the game in winter, the characters will also experience winter. The quirky video game is a massive hit with older folks, and it is available on Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and the Nintendo Switch.
  • Wii Sports – This interactive sports game can help seniors participate in physical activity from the comforts of home. The game offers easygoing versions of popular sports, like boxing, tennis, baseball, golf, and bowling. Users can complete light workouts, either with other players or alone. If you or your senior has trouble accessing physical fitness services, such as through a gym or community walking group, this can be an excellent alternative. Wii Sports is available on the Nintendo Wii.

Positive Effects of Video Games

Video Game Console Ideal For Senior Citizens

For seniors who have difficulty accessing social spaces and activities, video games can provide an essential outlet. Some games may feel social, while others can help seniors vary their days with fun tasks and challenges. Video games provide seniors with the opportunity to remain both socially connected and cognitively sharp. Plus, for those with no or limited mobility, they can be a helpful escape from monotonous schedules. 

A Medical Alert System Can Help

If you’re thinking about helping your senior access video games, you might find them hesitant to learn a new technology. Like our medical alert systems, all of the video games listed above are senior friendly. They do not take much troubleshooting to set up. If your elderly parent or friend is resistant, introducing a simpler piece of technology, like a wearable or home medical alert system, can be a great place to start. Once they learn how to use one of these devices, they may feel emboldened to try different technologies.