It’s almost a stereotype to walk into a retirement community or senior center and see seniors playing bingo. While today’s senior living communities offer a whole lot more than a weekly game of Bingo, it turns out that Bingo may actually be good for your health. From engaging the brain to hand-eye coordination and more, there’s more to your Bingo card than meets the eye. Learn more about why seniors love Bingo and how playing Bingo can actually benefit senior health.
5 Reasons Seniors Love Bingo
As senior living communities become more progressive and creative, Bingo has managed to stay a beloved game for generations of seniors. Retirement communities and senior centers around the country have drawn older adults to their common areas for weekly games of the game for decades. But, why? What is it about Bingo that makes it a time-tested game (and, in some cases, a tradition) for seniors?
1. An opportunity to be social
First and foremost, Bingo is a social game. It brings people together from all over the community to physically be together in the same room, doing the same thing. Players can chat with each other while numbers are being called and, even for the most introverted seniors, striking up a conversation is made easier by having a common interest and a common goal – winning Bingo!
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2. Intergenerational fun!
Bingo is not just a game for seniors. In fact, many younger women (ages 18-35) are playing Bingo. It’s a great game to play with the whole family and even younger grandchildren can play and have fun.
3. Healthy competition with a dash of luck
Bingo is most certainly largely a game of luck, but that doesn’t stop a feeling of competitiveness during the game and a sense of pride after a win. It’s an engaging and fun game that can be competitive in a fun way, knowing skill has very little to do with the outcome.
4. Awesome prizes
Bingo prizes are famous for being, well, awesome. Some Bingo halls offer paid vacations, significant amounts of money, and luxury goods for winning a Bingo game. And, even if your Bingo hall doesn’t offer a prize, you’ll have bragging rights – until the next game, of course.
5. An all-inclusive game
Bingo is an all-inclusive game meaning that a player does not have to be mobile to play. Seniors in wheelchairs with physical limitations can still play the game. It’s even a great game for those in the early stages of dementia. Seniors can grab friends, young and old, and sit down for an engaging game of Bingo without worry that someone will be left out.
Benefits of Bingo for Seniors
We know that Bingo is a fun game – but is it really beneficial for seniors? As the game continues to become a time-honored tradition, more research is being done into its health benefits for players. And, as it turns out, a good old-fashioned game of Bingo packs major mental and physical health benefits for seniors.
1. Increases Mental Flexibility and Alertness
Bingo requires its players to be mentally alert and aware of the numbers on their card, what the announcer is calling, and requires a great deal of mental flexibility and alertness to stay in the game. In fact, research has shown that Bingo players were faster and more accurate than non-Bingo players when it comes to mental speed, memory, and the ability to gain information from their environments. It is also suspected that the long-term mental activity seniors gain from games like bingo can improve cognitive abilities.
2. Exercises Hand-Eye Coordination
Bingo can help seniors maintain hand-eye coordination even as reflexes and coordination generally decline with age. Bingo is a fast-paced game that requires players to mark their cards as numbers are called. Because of the fast-pace and repetitive nature of the game, studies have shown that playing the game can improve hand-eye coordination, which, in turn, can delay the onset of mobility issues and other age-related obstacles.
3. Accelerated Healing
Bingo is a social game that can reduce the time required to heal from an injury, illness, or surgery. A recent study found that seniors who played games like Bingo during a recovery period following a surgery or other illness had shorter hospital stays and faster healing times. The study also found that seniors who played Bingo or similar games had a decreased risk of depression.
Anyone who has seen a Bingo game knows it comes with a lot of laughter and when it comes to aging well, laughter may truly be the best medicine. Studies have shown that laughter decreases stress hormones, increases immunity, and triggers endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals. Laughter can also lower blood pressure, improve cardiac health, and produce a general sense of well-being.
Bingo increases face-to-face contact with others and having an organized activity can pull even introverts into a fast-paced game. One study found that face-to-face contact is actually like a vaccine, making us more resilient to stress, improve memory, and even lessen pain. Bingo is usually a weekly commitment and engaged seniors will develop relationships and friendships during these games that can lead to other commitments, outside of the Bingo game.
What draw you and your loved ones to Bingo? Have you seen these health benefits from the game in yourself or a loved one? Share your experiences with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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