How Bingo Helps The Elderly

  • Updated
  • By Tracy Doyle
bingo helps elderly

While everyone can reap the health benefits of playing bingo, it's the elderly that see the most health and social benefits of playing the game either online or offline.

Bingo has been a popular pastime with older generations for years and it continues to be a firm favourite today. But, what seems like just a fun game, could have real health and social benefits for its elderly players – which may be why bingo is a permanent fixture in many care homes.

Let’s take a look at some of the health and social benefits regularly playing bingo offers to the elderly.

Boosts Cognitive Skills

As we get older our brains become slower, but regularly playing bingo can help boost cognitive abilities in the elderly. 

Bingo requires recognitions skills, alertness, mental speed and the ability to process information quickly, all of which can decline as we age but research has shown that these cognitive skills can be improved in the elderly when they regularly play bingo.

A study by Southampton University’s Centre for Visual Cognition found that older adults who played bingo had better concentration and short-term memory skills compared to those who played chess. 

Improves Memory

Short-term memory can often be a problem for the elderly, but the good news is playing bingo can help with improving memory too. 

Listening to the numbers and then remembering the information to transfer onto the bingo card acts as training for the brain. 

Also, remembering which numbers have already been called and the rules of the game can help to further boost memory.

Gives More Energy

When you think of ways to boost your energy levels, bingo may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the mental workout that bingo gives the elderly can help their brains be more active and alert and this, in turn, can give them more energy.

Without the daily routine of work or raising a family it can be easy for the elderly to be lacking in energy, but regularly playing a game such as bingo provides them with cognitive stimulation and enjoyment that can help them feel more energetic.

Creates Social Environments

Whether the elderly play bingo with friends and peers at the local bingo hall or they play online, it can provide a great social environment with people who have a shared interest.

The majority of online bingo sites have chat rooms where you can talk and make friends with the people you're playing bingo with. And for those who play offline, it's a great excuse to get out of the house to meet friends or peers and have a chat in between games.

Many elderly people may live alone and don't speak to people on a daily basis. Bingo can offer regular social interaction to the elderly whether they are playing online or offline and this social activity can help improve mental health and provide a happier and healthier lifestyle.  

Better Hand to Eye Coordination & Motor Skills

Playing bingo can help the elderly improve their hand to eye coordination by locating the number that has been called and marking it off with a dabber if playing offline or by using a mouse when playing online.

Both of these activities can help boost motor skills and help with grip and coordination.

Also, those who use the chat rooms on online bingo sites will further benefit from coordination and motor skills by improving their ability to type and control the mouse.

Accelerates Healing

Playing bingo can help the elderly recover quicker and can accelerate the healing process of serious illness or surgery. 

It's thought that the positive emotions and stimulation of playing bingo can help to reduce the perception of pain and aid faster healing.

A report by Salisbury District Hospital in Wiltshire in 2011 found that elderly patients that played bingo during their recovery had shorter hospital stays. 

Others reasons why bingo may accelerate healing is the positive emotions, boost to mental health and social interaction it provides, all of which help to create a positive attitude.

Promotes Happy Mood

The risk of depression increases as we age, this could be due to many factors such as poor health, loneliness or loss of a spouse or partner. 

When the elderly become depressed, this can often lead to them withdrawing from social activities and can lead to a decline in their mental and physical health.

Therefore, regularly playing bingo can help promote a happy mood in the elderly and help to reduce the risk of depression by increasing social interaction, enjoyment and positive emotions to help the elderly live a healthier lifestyle.

For those who have regularly played bingo throughout their lives, it may also trigger happy memories and help them to reminisce about their younger years when they played bingo with friends and family.

Triggering memories like these can help the elderly with social interactions and can further boost their mental health.

Boosts Immune System

Bingo can help boost cognitive, coordination, motor and social skills and the mental health and happiness of the elderly which in turn will help boost their immune systems.

As bingo can help reduce stress and pain perception this combined with good mental health, mental stimulation, better energy levels, greater social interaction and a happy mood will naturally improve the immune system health of the elderly helping them to stay fit and healthy.