In Puy-de-Dôme, residents of a retirement home are French virtual bowling champions

In Puy-de-Dôme, residents of a retirement home are French virtual bowling champions

Residents of a retirement home in Puy-de-Dôme have become French senior virtual bowling champions. A way to create connections and strengthen your brain capacities.

“Can you please be quieter?” The hubbub of the Les Charmilles independent residence, in Beaumont, bothers Andrée. Jacqueline and Michelle, the culprits, are having fun a little too loudly on their digital tablet. We may be the French senior virtual bowling champion, but a little calm seems necessary to shine on the Wii, a console from the Japanese manufacturer Nintendo released in 2006.

Accompanied by Huguette and Henri, the dapper nonagenarian in the pink sweater won a national “Wii bowling” video game competition last November, organized by Silver Geek, an association whose objective is to improve the well-being of seniors through digitally. In the room dedicated to leisure activities, three trophies commemorate their exploits. After victoriously competing against other retirees from the department, then from the region, the Huguette-Henri duo won their ticket for the final phases of a competition between seniors during Paris Games Week, a major video game event. . But going to the capital to play in front of 2,000 people is intimidating. “It was a bit scary,” admits Huguette who, too stressed, finally withdrew. At short notice, Andrée replaced the octogenarian for the semi-finals. The rest is history.

Controller virtuosos

In this virtual bowling game, players are far from passive. Controller in hand, they have to mime a throw to send the ball onto the pins. “I can only recommend the generalization of video games in retirement homes,” agrees Michael, host at the origin of a two-hour slot devoted to digital leisure activities. These are no longer so bad. For a long time, they meant dropping out of school, social disconnection, loss of motivation, violence and dependence… particularly for adolescents, and in the event of excessive use. But in recent years, research has tended to prove that regular practice, provided you remain moderate, makes it possible to improve your cognitive, spatial, perceptive and memory faculties. In 2022, an American study carried out on 2,200 children showed that those who played it obtained better results on memory and reflex tests. “The Wii requires a lot of concentration and, what’s more, makes me move. Between her and the garden, it’s great,” says Henri, 90 years old.

Like the reigning French champion, the residents of Charmilles quickly became virtuosos of the controller, even though they had never played a console in their lives before 2022, the year of the arrival of the Wii in the structure. “Even us, the rare times we face them, we can’t beat them,” admits Corentin. With three other supervisors from Unis Cité, a civic service association which introduces seniors to the joys of video games, he leads this weekly Friday session. But the quartet of young people hardly need to intervene as the occupants of this residence located near Clermont-Ferrand seem perfectly trained in the exercise. Proof of their enthusiasm, these white-haired “geeks” sometimes work overtime. They play independently after dinner and some even spend time on the Internet to find tips on how to improve.

Competitive instinct

“They are rediscovering a competitive instinct,” smiles Michael. The talkative Jacqueline is one of the few to say she is a little disappointed: “I really like this game, but I can’t play anymore because my shoulder has been hurting for a few months. » Despite everything, this resident with a sparkling look takes great pleasure in seeing her friends having fun, to the point of following them to Paris to encourage them.

In the absence of bowling, her and Michelle’s game consists of finding a word associated with the four images displayed on their digital tablet. If the sporting stakes are less, the cognitive interest is just as important and the passion just as palpable. The two residents, caught up in their activity, end up lowering their voices to let Andrée concentrate. The specialist, her eyes fixed on the ten pins in front of her, extends her right arm and swings it with determination. His comrades applaud him: it’s a strike.

Recipes for success

  • Mobility Easy to learn and inspired by an existing sport, Wii bowling is an easy mobility game with no age limit!
  • The support During the final of the senior championship in Paris, thousands of young people chanted the first names of the participants and celebrated each shot.
  • Digital agility By introducing seniors to the world of video games, these workshops aim to familiarize them with new technologies and reduce the digital divide.

Similar Posts