Video games are commonly thought to be something that kids and younger people are into, but the COVID-19 pandemic showed that adults and even seniors are getting in on the action as we had more time at home and easier access to games.

In what once was an industry where you could only participate if you had a fast computer or an expensive console, games now are being produced for phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, giving access to the gaming world to nearly everyone.

The number of people over the age of 50 playing video games climbed from 9% in 1999 to 38% in 2016 and 44% in 2019. Given that nearly 240 million people played a mobile-based game called Candy Crush in January 2021, that number is likely much higher in pandemic life.

As with anything, there are positives and negatives to gaming, so it’s important to know what to look out for. Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at three pros and three cons.


  • Improve everyday skills by enhancing hand-eye coordination, keeping memory sharp by making rapid decisions, and lengthening attention spans.
  • Can ease anxiety and depression by improving focus. There are also social aspects of many games now where people can team up with others around the country or world, helping to reduce isolation.
  • Can help keep vision sharp by detecting the direction of movement.


  • Becoming addicted to a game, just like anything else, can adversely affect real-world relationships and productivity.
  • Be sure to keep gaming to your free time and not let activities like exercise fall by the wayside.
  • Games also help with specific skills as far as cognitive abilities go, so it’s still important to keep your brain sharp with other activities like reading, doing puzzles, and doing activities with others.

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