Video Games Aren’t Just for Teenagers

Playing video games can help retirees stay mentally sharp and stave off loneliness by connecting them with a community.

Two adults playing a video game
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trish Martinelli, 52, a federal employee, has a daily noon appointment with her virtual video-game team. Michael Sick, 66, a digital marketing consultant, relaxes by playing Forge of Empires, an empire-building strategy game. Aren’t Martinelli and Sick past the video-gaming age? Not at all; in fact, they’re part of a growing trend.

According to an AARP survey, 44% of adults over 50 years old played video games in 2019 at least once a month—the average is five hours a week—compared with only 38% in 2016. That’s 10 million more older gamers. The AARP survey includes players of all sorts of computer or video games, and the majority say they play puzzle and logic games, such as Sudoku or Words With Friends. But Alison Bryant, senior vice president of AARP Research, says a 2020 survey by MRI-Simmons found that about a quarter of gamers over 50 play multiplayer games using a video system and one-third of that group identifies as medium or heavy players.

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Alina Tugend is a long-time journalist who has worked in Southern California, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., London and New York. From 2005 to 2015, she wrote the biweekly Shortcuts column for The New York Times business section, which received the Best in Business Award for personal finance by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Times, The Atlantic, O, the Oprah Magazine, Family Circle and Inc. magazine. In 2011, Riverhead published Tugend's first book, Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong.