Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Wii Gaming for Older Adults

Jenny Levine over at “the Shifted Librarian” blog wrote about the social nature of gaming and provided a video from the Erickson Retirement Communities Wii bowling competition as an example of this idea. The Nintendo Wii is a console gaming system that has games that allow players to simulate golfing, bowling, and baseball, by swinging a hand held remote (see previous post). Players from Erickson Retirement Communities throughout the nation participated in a bowling championship. The players were interviewed and filmed as they competed for the event.

The idea of using the Wii games to reach out to the elderly is catching on throughout the country. A non-profit organization has been started to introduce the Wii to nursing homes (found via post from the Helpdesk4seniors blog). The mission of WBM organization’s “Wii Seniors” program is “to provide the elderly and the youths of today the ability to connect through technology, fitness and fun.” High school volunteers “interact with the elderly and teach them the necessary skills to enjoy the video game systems.”

Libraries could sponsor such events. It could be done by arranging for local nursing home and assisted living facilities to transport their residents to a library by bus for an event. It would probably be best to hold it in the late morning or early afternoon, since many older adults do not like to attend evening events. Alternatively, Librarians could visit each of the retirement homes and videotape the competition. The videos could be uploaded to Youtube - with a link from the library’s homepage, Senior’s page, or library blog. Participants and people who viewed the videos could then comment on the competition, either on the YouTube site or on the library blog. It seems to be a fun idea to “build community”, both in person and online. This is such a fun way to engage older adults, encourage exercise, and promote social interaction. There could even be an open competition for all ages at the library. Such a program would give a positive portrayal of older adults and could increase intergenerational communication.

Here is the Erickson bowling championship Youtube video:



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8 comments:

Talking Books Librarian said...

What a fun idea! I love it!

Talking Books Librarian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan said...

This is very interesting. At our library I know the Youth Services staff talk a lot about gaming and using young patron's interest in gaming to reach out to them and spark their interest in other library materials and services. This is the first I have read about the use of gaming in serving older patrons.

Thanks for a great post.

Ref_Librarian said...

Thank you for your comments! I think that if you are going to buy gaming systems for the teens, you could also use them for the older adults at your library. I have heard from Allan Kleiman that the Old Bridge Public Library in New Jersey will be hosting a Wii gaming program for Seniors next month. They will be having local teens teach the game to the older adults. I look forward to hearing more about this program.

wii help said...

I love this idea. Being a Senior it shows that games arent only for the young

Bodong Chen 陈伯栋 said...

Hi, I recently got interested in the topic of aging and technology. An entry about Wii games posted two years ago on you blog was pretty interesting. Are you still doing this stuff in the library? I am eager to know the progress!

Thanks for your great posts!

Isabelle Fetherston said...

Old Bridge Library is very actively using the Wii games for Seniors. My library system also has some Wii gaming for Seniors. In addition, many retirement homes are hosting Wii championships throughout the United States.

Bodong Chen 陈伯栋 said...

Fantastic! I did some Google search just now and found it promising and beneficial to introduce games like Wii to older adults. I am a graduate student in Toronto. I will find a chance to check with some libraries here on this. Thanks for your reply. Hope to talk to you later.:)

Best,
Bodong