Benefits of game-based leisure activities in normal aging and dementia

Geriatr Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil. 2016 Dec 1;14(4):420-428. doi: 10.1684/pnv.2016.0632.


Given the increasing prevalence of dementia and the limited efficacy of pharmacological treatments, it is crucial to improve the knowledge of the factors that might delay the onset of dementia for developing non-pharmacological interventions. Recent studies have provided evidence that game-based interventions, especially the practice of video games, could improve the cognitive functioning (e.g. executive functions) in older adults and in demented patients. The positive effects of these games have also been demonstrated on physical health (e.g. improvement of balance and gait). Video gamed-based interventions may also alleviate mood or behavioral disorders, and increase interactions with friends, family, caregivers or other patients. The positive impact of games on these domains (cognitive and physical decline, social isolation) suggests that game-based interventions might contribute to delay the onset of dementia. Thus, playing games might be considered as a protective factor in dementia and even more as a potential non-pharmacological strategy in dementia rather than leisure activity.

Keywords: cognitive training; dementia non-pharmacological therapies; leisure activities; serious games.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cognition
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Video Games / psychology*