Serious games and healthy aging

In the present society almost everyone has the opportunity to live a very long life albeit not necessarily a healthy one. With so many older citizens around, society has to adapt to promote a most possibly autonomous, healthy and happy life for older people. This requires advances in different branches of medicine, care science, data processing among many other disciplines related to aging. It is a huge task to educate not only older persons but also their care-givers and health professionals about healthy aging. Those countries starting the education process earlier in their citizens’ lives will earn the best results. One very important panel of discussion involving all these aspects of healthy aging was started in Uppsala, Sweden, earlier this year (http://www.uppsalahealthsummit.se/).

http://www.uppsalahealthsummit.se/

 

The possibilities for serious games to promote not only education programs on healthy aging but also (self-)monitoring of health parameters and (early) intervention are innumerous. A close inspection of the topics covered by the Health calls of the European also reveals that societal interest on the development of more serious games applications for healthy aging are desirable. Different from frequent prejudice, older persons are not necessarily averse to informatics or internet media. For instance, 2013 the increase in usage by the 55 to 64 year olds was greater than 100% for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The popularity of these media as well as that of serious games is not futile. Instead, it is a sign that these technologies are already helping to support and increase the resources necessary for living an autonomous life such as moving around in town efficiently, shopping, contacting friends, and having a good record about your own health without having to ask a doctor every time. And this is only the very beginning.

 

Guilherme Wood & Manuel Ninaus

University of Graz – Neuropsychology

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