Playing Your Way to Recovery

I have spoken previously about playing games, board, card or electronic, at home with my son and his girlfriend to help my cognitive recovery.

Well, now scientists in New Deli have developed a video game which may benefit stroke survivors in their rehabilitation. The thing I particularly like about it is that it is designed to play with a healthy family member rather than alone. We know only too well of the difficulties family members experience, often not knowing how to help us, and what ways we can still enjoy games and family time together, not to mention help with the isolation we experience. Playing games gives families the opportunity to have ‘normal’ times together again competing and laughing together and with the added benefit of aiding our recovery whilst doing so. So what is it you ask?

It is a game called Balloon Buddies, it allows the healthy participants to support the less able, therefore leveling the playing field. Findings showed that the performance of the less abled stroke survivor was boosted when playing with a healthy volunteer compared to playing the game alone. It illustrated that the greater the difficulties, the greater the improvements when playing this way. This type of gaming is more rewarding for those of us with difficulties and more challenging for the able, stronger partner making the game fun for both as they have to continually work together to each score points.  This in itself has the advantage of being more favorable than most normal rehabilitation.

Lead author, Michael Mace, of the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, said “Video games are a brilliant way of providing repetitive exercise. It is said such gaming can help other illnesses too such as cerebral palsy, depression and musculoskeletal injuries as well as reducing our risk of dementia.”

Playing video games has been known to reduce stress, boost memory in both young and elderly, as identified in previous studies.

The technology is still being developed but it has already been shown that playing jointly with another individual can lead to better outcomes for patients Mace added.

I feel it is very exciting and would love to give the game a try, wouldn’t you?

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