Escape Room Games For Senior Adults?

The modern world is nothing but filled with stress and many who work full time or spend the day taking care of children will be looking forwards to the end of the day, as a chance to relax, if only for a few hours. It's no surprise that many will reach for the remote control and simply switch on the television as this is the least taxing mental activity for relaxing.  

It's a sad by-product of our lifestyles that we have so little time for self-improvement. Finding time for productive ways of improving both mental faculties as well as mental health has taken a back seat to a material lifestyle. But once the working life is over and people enter retirement, it becomes increasingly important that mental is taken seriously, with the introduction and employment of mind-enhancing activities. If you think back to your grandmother, one of her favourite activities was putting together jigsaw puzzles. This is an example of how puzzles can help maintain mental clarity and keep the brain sharp as old age starts to ecroach.  

Playing in an escape room game is the perfect tonic for older people. Both from the perspective of using the gameplay to help maintain mental well-being, and also for the social aspects of getting people out of the home and mixing together. Metal puzzles actually enhance brain function and longevity and escape room games would seem a perfect tool for this.

According to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) which boasts of having 38 million retired members, learning a new skill within a social activity will actively improve brain health and see a 26% decrease in the likelihood of dementia development. An interesting study by UCLA of seniors compared reading (a high cognitive activity) with surfing the internet. rather surprisingly, the study discovered that those surfing the web saw an increase in brain activity due to the fact that they needed to make choices by placing and clicking the mouse. They concluded that reading the web was a better choice for maintaining brain functions.

ìInterestingly, all participants demonstrated the same brain activity that was seen during the book-reading task, but the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, which control decision-making and complex reasoning.î Staying Sharp-AARP/UCLA

Solving Puzzles is Essential

It really doesn't matter whether the activity involves word searches, Sudoku, card games, word scrambles or jigsaw puzzles, the results are the same. Namely, they will all help improve brain function and mental ability. And more importantly, help stop the ravages of memory loss. As you well know, the brain s divided into two separate hemispheres or lobes. the left brain is responsible for analytical functions, wereas the right brain deals with emotions, communication and a huge number of different tasks. The great thing about puzzles is that they utilize both hemispheres in order to complete the tasks. Equally important, especially for older people, dopamine is produced making the puzzle-solver feel happier and giving purpose to their existence.

We should be looking at escape room games as a 60-minute brain exercise for older people. As each room has something different to offer, it will encourage quick thinking as well as creating an enjoyable experience. keep in mind that the biggest fear for all seniors is the gradual onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. This is a legitimate concern if you consider that in the US alone there are more than 5.1 million seniors affected by the disease. Because solving puzzles has been shown to have real and meaningful results in defeating the onset of dementia, then we should be pushing more strongly the idea of escape room games for the elderly. 

Yes, we know it's not cool, and hipsters don't like to hang with wrinkley's. Many escape room business owners might be afraid that the whole genre would become associated with oldies, and the rooms would start to smell of bleach, musty clothes and cats! But we would suggest that there's a massive untapped market that escape room game owners are completely missing out of. Not only are they leaving money on the table, but keep in mind that seniors can play at any time of the day, which is particularly important as many escape rooms experience a lull during the working day. From a purely business perspective, you have to remember that as a demographic, seniors have money to burn!  

But more importantly, the businesses can help serve a social purpose and can become a fun and vital part of the senior activities. By encouraging this age group to participate, escape room games can become more than just a game, but also a cause for social good.