Author: Charlie is a guest contributor from www.onlinebingofinder.co.uk, the only site that lets you search 100′s of live bingo rooms.
While online bingo operators have remained adamant that bingo is no longer just for your grandma, there’s still plenty of evidence that suggests the elderly can benefit from playing bingo games. A variety of studies show the combination of mental exercise and social activity can actually help the elderly stay sharper – and for longer.
Speeding up and slowing down
A study conducted at Southampton University confirmed that bingo players have improved speed and accuracy in their ability to scan and memorize information. In addition, this was found to be the case regardless of age, with older bingo players even outperforming younger players, hinting that an actively engaged older mind can remain in better shape than a younger, inactive one.
The study, presented by Julie Winstone at a British Psychological Society conference, studied 112 people, with a near equal split of non bingo players and bingo players. Participants were divided up into 18-40 and 60-82 age categories, with the results suggesting that the older bingo players were more likely to make less errors, as well complete scanning tasks quicker.
With research suggesting the ability to ‘fetch and retrieve’ data sets and particularly numbers declines during the ageing process, the game of bingo not only provides a social outlet for the elderly, but actively encourages their brain to stay in better shape. The idea certainly rings true amongst local community planning services, with games of bingo a staple feature in plenty of social outreach and residential care programmes.
A global phenomenon?
And it’s not just in the UK that bingo seems to carry some desirable benefits. A joint study carried out between Case Western Reserve University, Bridgewater State University and Boston University has also looked at the relationship between brain training exercises- such as bingo – and the effects on cognition.
The study examined the cognition abilities of healthy elderly and young adult participants alongside seniors suffering from Alzheimers, Parkinsons and other types of elderly onset dementia. Not only did playing a game such as bingo improve participants results, but the study also found that factors such as size, colour contrast and brightness could also vastly improve their scores.
Participants with mild dementia were even found to return scores just as good as their healthy counterparts in such tests, with the potential for online bingo sites to certainly improve their technology to benefit their elderly players.
With estimates suggesting elderly online bingo players account for between 10-15% of total online bingo demographics, there is plenty of reason for online bingo operators to help their players remain mentally healthy – whatever their age.
Mind over matter
At the centre of bingo’s reported success with senior players is the opportunity to continue working the brain and thus improve the chances of staving off degenerative mental illnesses in later life. Mental exercise rests on the idea that when the brain is active, neurons connect up with other neurons, forging networked links that contribute to a greater level of intelligence. When the brain experiences a form of stimulation – such as playing a game of bingo – the brain actually grows in size. New stimulation can also increase the productivity of the prefrontal coretex of the brain, known as one of the problem areas in older age. By ensuring the prefrontal coretex stays stimulated, older generations can also maintain their ability to make decisions and foresee consequences – in effect, bypassing that other well worn age stereotype of the grumpy old man or indeed, woman.
And so a trip to the local bingo club or logging on to play online can work wonders. With offline bingo sessions at local clubs often lasting a few hours and with older players likely to visit offline bingo clubs during the day on a frequent basis, a trip to the local bingo hall can provide a form of regular mental workout that can work wonders for keeping the mind active and performing at an optimum level, regardless of age.
This idea of mental exercise not only ensures the brain stays in great condition, but it can contribute to living a longer and healthier life as a result. A series of studies by the Rush Medical Institute in Chicago have found that elderly decline need not be an eventuality, providing seniors can stay active both physically, socially and mentally.
Engaging in social activities like bingo games can help ward off disability alongside dementia and increase life expectancy according to one study. Looking at the motor function of 96 elderly patients over a five year period, the study concluded that by remaining busy, elderly people could reduce their risk of developing a disability by 65 per cent, whilst also reduce their chances of dying earlier by 40 per cent. Interestingly, the study found that pre-existing health conditions played little role in affecting the positive benefits of being active.
And in another study, the Rush University Medical Centre also found that social activities such as bingo can contribute towards maintaining an important level of independence in the elderly. A sample of 954 participants were studied over a long-term period, with researchers finding a distinct correlation between those that still managed to undertake social activities and those that were able to take care of themselves in day-to-day tasks.
The study concluded those that were socially engaged were also more like to complete minor daytime tasks such as dressing, bating and walking to the shops or doing housework. With all participants healthy at the beginning of the study, the results showed that those that stayed social were around twice as likely to continue daily routines into their 80s without the need for extra assistance.
With many elderly bingo players still engaging in games of bingo at their local club or via online bingo sites, the chance of increasing their quality of life with some eyes down action seems set to keep this generation of gamers keep going way past the final bingo call of the day.
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