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Games for the 50+: Games Provide Family Caregivers With Time to Recharge

woman sitting at computer

Photo by Victor1558 via CreativeCommons.org

I’ve been writing about the landmark gaming study by Dr. Jennifer Jacobs Henderson, associate professor and department chair, and Dr. Aaron Delwiche, associate professor, of the Department of Communication at Trinity University. Their study is based on over 32,000 users of  Wizard101, an online multiplayer game that surprisingly has a large number of 50+ users. One of the biggest surprises to us at AARP are the findings that show gaming benefits for caregivers and those who have gone through a challenging life transition.

Supporting the needs of family caregivers is a top priority for AARP. Our Caregiving Resource Center provides information to help both the caregiver and the person they are caring for. Most family caregivers are simply caring for a loved one because that is what family members do. The time can be rewarding but can also be stressful – as the family caregiver may become isolated from friends, may not take care of themselves, and may have little time for themselves. For those losing a family member, grief may make it difficult to reengage with friends and family.

Consider these powerful quotes from study participants.

The online, multiplayer aspect of Wizard101 and similar games allows participants to do more than escape – it helps them to stay connected. As with past blogs, it would be great to hear your stories about gaming and connections to health, loss and family caregiving. Next time, I’ll conclude with a final surprise on gaming – mentoring.

View the entire Games for the 50+ series:


Bob Stephen is AARP’s Vice President for Home and Family. In this role he works on issues such as caregiving, intergenerational families, livable communities and technology across the organization.  He connects with family and friends through online gaming.

Image courtesy of Victor1558 via CreativeCommons.org