Opinions and Culture

Video Games: Brain Gain or Drain?

Jayne Gackenbach Ph.D.

Video Games: Brain Gain or Drain? – Video game technology supporting the elderly

On this show I chat with Hannah Marston who coauthored an article “Interactive Videogame Technologies to Support Independence in the Elderly” which was recently published in the Games for Health Journal. Dr. Marston is with the Institute of Sport Gerontology, German Sport University Cologne. She writes about her work that, “in recent years the use of videogame technology has increased within the domain of health, in particular to facilitate rehabilitation following a stroke or fall.” In our interview and in her article she gives an overview of how “videogame technologies can be used to address health issues contributing to reduced independence in older adults. Four themes were identified: (1) hardware, (2) software, (3) health issues addressed using videogames, and (4) clinicians’ perspectives. Several recommendations have been proposed to build upon the use and integration of videogame technology into rehabilitation and training for older adults. In particular, the use of videogames for health requires an appropriate game classification system for development of games that are appropriate for the physical, cognitive, and social requirements of older adults or those living with a disability.” Marston also speaks about the problem with falls and how gaming might help in training elderly through the Stoopfalls project.