Video Games Improve Memory

Leah Health Guide
  • Everyday is a struggle to keep my short term memory as keen as possible.  Vascular dementia has tried to defeat me, but I am fighting back.  Recently I “discovered” the website of the American Geriatrics Society.  Perhaps some of what I learned will be of help to you.


    The journal Psychology and Aging reports the findings of a study using the “Rise of Nations” video game.  Though the study is small (20 participants played the game, 20 did not), the results were quite remarkable.  The participants who played the game received rewards during their play time for successfully managing, building, and expanding empires.  ALL twenty game players showed improvement in working memory (short term memory), visual memory (memory of things seen such as lists), and other thinking abilities.  I have not seen the “Rise of Nations” video game, but I have put it on my “to do” list.

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    The website by the AGS continues with other ways to improve memory (conquering the world is but one way!).  Here are some easy ways to start:

    • Keep high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression within healthy limits
    • Exercise (yuck—yuck—double yuck!) at least 30 minutes three times a week (groan…)
    • Get enough sleep, at least 7-8 for most people (I like 9 myself)
    • Eat well.  Include lots of vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains and fish, like salmon, tuna, and sardines
    • Become active; try Yoga, mediation, and prayer (These work wonders for your mental health, too!)
    • Read, join a book club for active discussion, play bridge, learn a new language, take a course in something you are interested in
    • And…now MY OWN SUGGESTION…volunteer your time to help others; I teach a series of memory classes at the senior center, volunteer my time as a greeter for an off-site Social Security site, and am on the board for the Cooperative Ministry of Aging.  PLUS, I volunteer with Community Support Systems and a local church, and transport an elderly lady to doctors, shopping, etc.  The more you can be interactive with others, the more alert you will be.  Truly!  Try it!!!!


    There are many more ways to promoting greater memory retention to come.  I look forward to hearing from anyone with suggestions or comments of their own!  God bless you all!



Published On: April 29, 2009