It turns out video games aren't just for children anymore. Results of a study released earlier this year found that senior citizens who regularly played "exergames" improved symptoms of subsyndromal depression (SSD), seniorjournal.com reports.
The study focused on a group of 19 people between the ages of 63 and 94 who played three 35 minute sessions a week.
Exergames, like those commonly used in the Nintendo Wii, combine gameplay with exercise.
The study is good news for memory care as it showed that playing the games had a positive effect on mood and mental health. While physical activity has been shown to improve depression, only five percent of seniors get enough, the news source reports.
"More than one-third of the participants had a 50-percent or greater reduction of depressive symptoms. Many had a significant improvement in their mental health-related quality of life and increased cognitive stimulation," study leader Dilip V Jeste told the news source.
Individuals with SSD have symptoms that fall short of clinical depression however the to the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that around 5 million senior citizens suffer from the illness.