Brain Fitness with the Wii - Retirement Net by Diane Carbo

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Brain Fitness with the Wii

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The Wii helps remove physical limitations in aging seniors.

Posted December 3, 2010

Nintendo Wii games are like using a brain fitness program to promote healthy aging. You flex your mental muscles as well as improve physical fitness at the same time.

Studies show that in 2008, 26 percent of aging individuals over the age of 50 played video games. This is an increase of 9 percent from 1999, according to release of data from the Entertainment Software Association.

Seniors centers all over the country are teaching seniors how to play the bowling, golf, tennis and boxing games. Many centers hire college students to teach the aging senior how to play the games. The seniors not only are improving their physical fitness status, but also they are flexing their mental muscles, socializing, and having fun. All these are components of a good brain fitness program.

Nintendo Wii games are now being used by hospitals and rehabilitation facilities because many of the games actually use the same movements that would be used in traditional physical therapy. Wii gives pleasure to those seniors as they do many activities they were not able to do when they were younger.

Many seniors have lost the ability to pick up a bowling bowl, run on the tennis court, or tolerate the length of time a good golf game takes. Losing the ability to participate in these activities limits the life of an aging senior. The Wii has changed that.

There are many seniors who take participating in the Wii programs very seriously. All over the country, there are now Nintendo Wii leagues for bowling, tennis, golf and the mind academy. These activities improve the quality of life and healthy aging for many seniors.

Physical fitness is a major element to healthy brain fitness. The challenging element to the Wii program is the more you exercise, the more challenging some of the programs become. This is important to a brain fitness program, as your brain loves to be challenged. The increase challenges can strengthen the connections of the brain to increase response time and improve memory.

The Nintendo Wii games will also flex your mental muscles in many other ways to promote brain fitness. Socialization and connecting with others is important to brain health and concentration.

Healthy aging and a brain fitness program along with the Wii promotes the development of new skills, and helps seniors learn from their mistakes. The best part of using the Wii as part of a healthy aging program is the laughter and excitement you see in the faces of the participants. The environment is electric as the seniors enjoy familiar interests in a new format. For many seniors it feels like old times again. The Wii games have brought back feelings of being young again as the participants flex their mental muscles and improve their physical fitness. The Wii is improving the quality of life of many seniors.

Diane Carbo, RN has over 35 years’ experience in a variety of nursing settings, including orthopedics/rehabilitation nursing, home care, discharge planning, case management, oncology, hospice, senior behavior health, assisted living, and long term care. Her passion is to help people plan for long-term care needs, and to that end started Her goal is to assist aging seniors and their families to develop plans that allow individuals to remain home, safely and comfortably, in the least restrictive environment, regardless of age, income or ability level.


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