Gaming Grandpa? Arcades No Longer Just for Youth

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The Japanese are taking an unconventional approach to fighting dementia: using video games as therapy.

The popularity of the new treatment has some popular teen hangouts looking more like senior citizen homes.

Japan is aging faster than any other country in the world. More than a quarter of its population is over the age of 65, and many live alone.
    
Consequently, during the day when the younger generation is at school or work, seniors fill up arcades looking for company and entertainment.
    
This new trend gave game makers an idea. Namco, the same company that created "Pac-Man," is now putting arcade games in senior centers.

The games are aimed at improving the brain's blood flow, essentially helping to prevent dementia.
    
All of the stomping and pounding that goes into these games are part of therapy. Not only do they stimulate the brain, the movement also improves mobility and balance.
  
Seniors say the games make them feel stronger, and they enjoy the company that comes along with it.
    
Experts say there is no proof that games alone reverse memory loss. But they say gaming, combined with other forms of exercise, can produce positive results.
    
More than 200 senior centers in Japan now have game machines.

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